Production of the physical 2008 Burning Man ticket went better than ever before, with new paths of communication and involvement being forged among members of the team. The designer, production manager, our ticket partners, and the print and finishing houses all worked together in new and improved ways, resulting in higher quality control than weve ever had before and a downright beautiful ticket!
After the huge feat of our online ticket launch in 2007, the ticket team was confident that the way had been paved for another smooth launch in 2008. And lo, it was! All of the lessons learned paid off and made for an easy day. Once again, unhindered by technical glitches, the first two ticket levels sold out quickly. Also, folks were extra kind and opted to contribute over $43,000 to the Black Rock Arts Foundation during their ticket purchase.
A change for 2008 was an increase in the combined number of Low Income and Scholarship tickets available: 3,500 in 2008, up from 2,500 in 2007. Also, the application deadline was moved up a month to allow for more time to deal with all of the last minute applications (over 800 were received on the deadline this year), to increase mailing time before the event, and also to prevent conflicts with other event preparation efforts. Reviewing and processing these applications is done by hand and is therefore a huge job, which falls on a whopping two super heroines of ticketing. While we regularly accomplish superhuman feats, we still have our limits as to what we can handle with deluges of ticket orders and applications. Fortunately, systems put in place in 2007 helped streamline the processing and kept things moving quickly, which in turn helped to keep us all relatively sane. (Sadly, nobody sent us any home baked cookies with their applications.)
The team humbly requests that participants do not procrastinate and wait until the last minute to apply for a discounted ticket! It puts a huge strain on our wee team and makes it more difficult for us to offer these worthwhile programs to our community.
In 2008 we were lucky enough to have back all of our wonderful walk-in ticket outlets. On the whole they reported that ticket buyers were all very pleasant and respectful, but it always bears repeating that we need to do everything we can to be good to these businesses they are members of our community and sell our tickets at face value, getting no fees or service charges from us. They do this as their way of participating, and they deserve our utmost kindness. This includes being prepared with correct forms of payment and having exact change!
Toward the end of sales it was decided to extend outlet and online sales a few days in order to alleviate the stress of folks who hadnt yet heard (despite significant publicity of the fact) that we werent selling tickets at the gate. As this was the first year that tickets were not sold at the Box Office, we wanted to do everything we could to avoid stranding people at the gate. In general, most people had gotten the message about the lack of gate sales and arrived prepared with ticket in hand.
Unfortunately we witnessed some counterfeit ticket sales in our community this year. For the first time, an abundance of fake tickets were for sale on eBay. These counterfeit tickets were poorly executed color laser copies and mimicked none of the security features found on the legitimate tickets. When it was brought to our attention, we spread the word as quickly as possible through our community and gathered information from those who came forward so we could assist Paypal with the restitution process. Since these were all third party sales, it was Paypals responsibility to refund the buyers and prosecute the counterfeiters. Since we were not directly involved, we have not been informed of the outcome of their investigation. All of this is to underscore something we try to emphasize again and again: please be careful when purchasing tickets from a third party! We do everything in our power to verify third party tickets via email, but if something seems fishy or a ticket is being sold below face value, you should be wary!
On the whole, 2008 went very well in the world of tickets. We wouldnt have been able to pull off everything we did without the invaluable support of a couple of incredibly dedicated and adept volunteers, so our biggest thanks goes out to them.
Frog Gilmore & Rebecca Throne