I am hearing a lot of negativity on the lists these days. Everyone’s talking about how the lottery was lame, STEP is insensitive, and the 10,000-ticket “handout” is elitist and awful. Many people got screwed by the weird, new lottery system for tickets. Yea, that sucks. I’m with ya. Could’a, should’a and all that. Still, I am tired of the whining and name-calling and pity parties. Yes, almost everyone agrees there are better ways to sell tickets than a lottery. And while lots of people are now seeing the light with the remaining 10,000 tickets being directed specifically to art and theme camps, still more people are pissed that they’re not part of a registered theme camp or grant-approved art and feel like they’re again left in the dust, without a hope of getting “invited” to That Event In The Desert. I hear some people deciding that maybe they don’t wanna be a part of some “aristocratic” event like that, anyway. Then there’s other people who are excited about the new infusion of participants, the idea of no more giant theme camps and instead a return to individual effort and personal interactions. In their eyes, no one lost out except for big-name DJs and first-timers that see TEITD as a giant 7-day rave and don’t understand the appeal of the cute little camps on I- or J-street that offer you a coconut and great stories for four hours in a dust storm. Either way, you’re pissed off. But you know what? GOD didn’t do this to us, man! YOU did, you fucking nark! YOU had to go and tell all of your friends about how freaking cool this place was, and how much they’d love to go, and how much you’d love to see them there. So they all tried to buy tickets too. All of them. So now, you have a choice- work out a way for you to get a ticket too, or GTFOver it.

I don’t complain about how The Man is built, I just live to watch him burn. I’m not responsible for selling the tickets, and I don’t want to be- I feel like most of us veterans, my interest lies in participation at the event, sharing my skills, and making people’s moments. BURNING MAN IS BUILT ON ACTION, not reaction. I want to hear people talking about how to be part of ALL THIS and not how angry they are about ALL THAT. We have the opportunity, even the REQUIREMENT to be part of what makes Burning Man possible this year! If your school play turned you down for the role you wanted, are you one of the people that sneers from the sidelines? Or do you pitch in, help out the techies, and make yourself a better name for next year? Hell, I’d rather be a techie anyway!

NO WHINING- PARTICIPATE. NEWS FLASH- even after the public tickets are sold, there are still thousands left over FOR ALL THE VOLUNTEER STAFF THAT MAKE THIS EVENT HAPPEN. So what do ya gotta do to get a ticket? Make yoself volunteer staff baby! That is- DPW, Fire Conclave, Center Camp Café, Airport, Gate, Arctica, Rangers, Box Office, Lamplighters, Playa Info, Recycle Camp, and more and more and more and more and more. Check it out! Fire Conclave, for example, is just starting, and they get hella reduced-price or even free tickets! Participate! Start talking to these people NOW, get in where you fit in, and become part of the people that BUILD THAT CITY!

NO WHINING- CREATE. ART! There’s no way for all those huge art projects YOU LOVE SO MUCH to happen without lots and lots and hours and hours of time put into them. These projects receive tickets for many of their helpers! So many people go to playa and see amazing art, and intend to do something next year, but then it’s just so much easier to buy a ticket and work your job and go rollerskating on the weekends or shoot woodchucks or whatever, and that art never happens. Well, you already missed your deadline to apply for an art grant, but if you live in one of the bigger Burner cities chances are there are hundreds of other ticketed art projects around you. They’re already slaving away and wishing there were someone there to take that 2am nozzle grinding or arc welding shift. SO FIND THEM. Here’s some of the people that were funded last year. Look around, on kickstarter, facebook, your local burner lists, regional burns, or community artists, and find someone who’s doing art that needs some extra hands. Some of them can get you a ticket, yo, and all you have to do IS WHAT YOU ALREADY SAID YOU’D DO LAST YEAR, WHILE CLIMBING THAT 30’ METAL HEDGEHOG.

Think of ALLLLL those theme camps about to get tickets offered to them. I bet they’re all planning on doing their camp exactly the same as last year, with the same people and placement and art and no new mutant vehicles or domes or classes or kitchen help or bartenders or tech leads or ANYTHING! OH WAIT. THAT’S BULLSHIT. Talk to your local theme camps, talk to the one you’ve always wanted to be a part of, whether they’re near you or not. Many large camps are bi-coastal. These big guys aren’t exclusive—they became a CAMP by encouraging people to CAMP with them. Chances are, they already want your help. Now all you have to do is find out what they really need help in- and will possibly pay for with a ticket! Do they HAVE someone to lead build, or disengage? Do they have someone masochistic enough to run the kitchen yet? How about a person that will take on finding, bringing, and building that monster sound system they’ve always wanted? Can you drive a flatbed truck? What if they need someone who has access to masses of building supplies or an REI discount? WHO, DEAR GODS WHO WILL BUY THAT 20’ LED-FLAG THEY NEED? Theme camps, especially big ones, are constantly evolving entities, so go get your genes in that pool!

I recognize that this new system and all the switch-ups are a big jump, and there’s lots of confusion and mexed missages and that initial “declined” email gave us all a bad taste in our mouths, ‘cause we told our family we’d come home for the reunion and they said not to bother. But think of it this way—our family just wants to know you’re as committed to this as they are. You’re as committed to PARTICIPATION as RADICAL INCLUSION, and you can back that up! They need you to show that you care in more ways than just getting all huffy when they ask you to prove it. Find something you love and get involved in it. Find something to do and do it. Find something you can hold and hold it down. I’ll see some of you in the biggest Fire Conclave that Burning Man has ever SEEN! We always need more volunteers, more creators, more participants than passerby. Be the person you’ve always wanted to be. Stop whining and WORK IT OUT.

  1. it’s not about “whining,” it’s about the hope that if enough Burners speak up, the Org will change their system. not everyone lives in a city where they can channel their energy into local art groups and theme camps, and not everyone can devote half of their year to tracking down tickets. i’m all for people getting more involved in the community, but there are right and wrong ways to encourage that. saying “you got screwed over, but participate anyway” is missing the point. how about a system where everyone — even newbies — are required to volunteer in the year leading up to the Burn before being able to buy tickets?

    • Zeuticorn

      I love this idea. I got my first ticket ever from the Scholarship program, and in that you have to write why you care and how you’ll participate– and I still think those should be considered before you’re able to buy your ticket, any ticket at all. I think volunteering and participation *should* be required for entry. Imagine THAT city! But I’ve also worked years where this was absolutely not an option, and buying my ticket without helping to show up early and build the city was the only way I could even show up. I still built a camp, or an art car, and participated– but it wasn’t the same. I don’t think saying “participate anyway” is missing the point, I think it *is* the point– the point that all of us wish wasn’t true because we like saying “participate and you’ll get what you want.” You WON’T always get what you want. But if you PARTICIPATE and ACCEPT and CONTRIBUTE sometimes you’ll get what you need. There are only 50,000 tickets. More people than that want to go. We all want ourselves to be preferred customers, without signing up for a high-interest card or a long-term contract. How do you get on that list?

  2. Tracking down tickets is part of the culture of burning man. There are a limited number and that limited number is < demand, ok, now there's going to be more burners than there is room for us on the playa. That's not new. Not every burner goes every year, but if everyone who has ever gone to burning man entered the lottery (and no newbies entered) we would probably see the same result. Ok, some people have gotten creative this year to increased their odds to get tickets and some people have capitalized on the popularity of Burning Man and used that to prospect for tickets.

    But required volunteering? Put *required* in front of volunteering and it ceases to be voluntary.

    Burning Man isn't a place. It's an idea (several actually) and it goes where any and every burner goes. Maybe it's time to take those ideas off playa and actualize the principles we developed as burners outside of Burning Man. We have regional events, we have artistic communities in our own home cities. We can burn year round if we want.

    Ticket Schmicket. I'm a Burner and I burn everywhere.


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