Believe it or not, until 2011 it was possible to drive up to Burning Man and buy a ticket at the gate. But that all ended in 2012, which was the first year that Burning Man sold out. Since then the rise in popularity has made tickets to that thing in the desert more and more difficult to come by.
Before I get into the wherefores and whatnots of securing a ticket I hope you will heed this advice:
If you want to go to Burning Man, do not wait until you get a ticket to plan your trip. You will get a ticket. Buy your plane tickets, secure your RV, and lock down any other details because tickets come from odd places, and you don't know when or how that ticket will show up. Now, here's a helpful guide to securing tickets in 2018.
First, there are a few of the things you need to know:
- You can only buy tickets if you register for the sale in advance.
- After you register you wait for the day of the sale when you will be emailed a link to buy. That link won't work until the sale actually starts.
- There are different sales with varying pricing and availability.
- When sales open you have a small window to secure your tickets.
- You are limited to two tickets, and one car pass ($80) per sale.
- There are need based tickets available for $180, but you have to prove your income and when applications fill up, they close the online application.
- If you buy a ticket in one of the earlier sales, you aren't eligible to register in the later sales.
Burning Man Org sells around 65,000 tickets for a variety of prices leading up to the start of the burn. The first round of pre-sale tickets go for $990 and $1,200 plus fees, and they only sell 5,000 of them. You can register for this sale between Wednesday, January 24 and Friday, January, 26, 2018. The sale opens on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at noon.
Low income applications open on Wednesday, February 14 and go until Monday, April 16, 2018 or until the queue is filled. That means you should apply early! My guess is it will fill up within a few days.
Theme camp and artists
If you are part of a theme camp or working on an art piece, directed registration opens on Tuesday, February 13 until Friday February 23, 2018. If you know you are part of a theme camp be sure to reach out to leadership to let them know you want to be a part of this sale. Most camps get 30-40% of their tickets covered here and be prepared to buy your ticket plus someone else's if you are given permission to join this sale. Also, be aware that if you buy a ticket through this sale you are expected to be part of the camp. Should you choose to not camp with them, or decide not to go to the burn it will be expected that you sell your tickets back to the camp and not to a friend. The directed sale starts on Wednesday, February 28 and noon and ends March 2, 2018. Approximately 30,000 tickets are available at $425 each and approximately 15,000 vehicle passes available at $80 each, plus applicable fees and taxes.
The main or general sale of tickets will be on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 with registration only open for 48 hours from Wednesday, March 21 to Friday, March 23, 2018. This is the most competitive sale with tickets typically selling out in under 45 minutes. Approximately 26,000 tickets at $425 each, and approximately 10,000 vehicle passes available at $80 each, plus applicable fees and taxes. Lots of people have strategies such as clicking on the sale link early, opening the link in several browsers, or on several laptops. In my experience, none of these strategies will guarantee success. The last time I got tickets in the general sale I clicked on the link at exactly noon from one browser, and 20 minutes later bought my tickets.
Your last chance to secure tickets will be the OMG sale on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at noon, and you must register for the sale between Wednesday, July 25 - Friday, July 27, 2018. There are only 2,000 tickets available but I have known people who successfully bought tickets in this sale.
What happens if you don't get a ticket? Don't stress and try these strategies to secure legit face value:
- Register for the STEP program. This is the Burning Man sanctioned ticket exchange where you can guarantee your ticket is real. You can register for the STEP program on April 25th, so mark your calendar!
- Join a theme camp and see if they have some spare Direct Sale tickets that they can sell to you.
- Join your local Burning Man Facebook page or Regional Burn community and make friends with local burners.
- Try securing a ticket on Craig's List but check the voided list before purchasing a ticket. There are a lot of scams out there, so only use CL as a last resort.
- ABOVE ALL you should NEVER pay above face value for a ticket. It goes against the tenants of Burning Man and community, and that means you don't sell your tickets above face value either.
For more information you can visit the Burning Man website.