Jrs V16 I05


Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 16, Issue #5: 2012 TICKET INFORMATION
November 19, 2011

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**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/** In the previous issue of the JRS, we told you about some significant changes to our ticket process for 2012, and we promised more details to come. Well, we’ve spent the last week taking in all of the feedback we’ve been seeing and hearing from the community, and working to make modifications to the ticketing process to ensure that your major concerns are being addressed.

We recognize that a good amount of confusion spread through the community when we gave you a high-level heads-up without including the details (because even though some key elements of the process were still in flux, we wanted to give you the opportunity to start formulating your ticket buying plans as soon as possible), and we appreciate your hanging in there.

So here you go … below you’ll find detailed information about how tickets will be sold for Burning Man in 2012, including an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (you might recognize YOUR question from the ePlaya, Facebook, or an email to us). We’ve endeavored to capture everything, but it’s possible there are still questions we may have missed, or concerns we haven’t considered … and we promise we WILL address them as they come up, and we’ll continue to evolve our FAQ page accordingly.

We encourage you to read through this carefully and completely, and if you have further questions or concerns that you feel need to be addressed, drop in on the Burning Man Ticket discussion thread on the ePlaya and let us know:


Thank you for your patience as we work together on managing ticket distribution for Burning Man.


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In an effort to create equal opportunity for participants to purchase tickets for Burning Man 2012, tickets will be sold via three different methods. There will be two rounds of tickets provided by a random selection process, followed by one round of open ticket sales. We will also again offer a low income ticket program through special application. More information about the low income program will be posted soon.


A Pre-Sale round will be conducted in November/December 2011:
• Participants seeking early access to full price tickets can register for the Pre-Sale during a two-week period from November 28 until December 11, 2011 (at 11:59pm PST).
• Entrants will need to provide a valid credit or debit card number at the time of registration.
• On or before December 19, a random drawing from the pool of entrants will be conducted to award 3,000 tickets at a Pre-Sale price of $420.
• If you are awarded tickets, your credit card will be charged for the total amount of your tickets at that time.
• Those who are awarded tickets will receive notification via email that their credit cards have been charged for their tickets, along with a gift certificate suitable for printing.
• Any entrants who do not receive one of these Pre-Sale Tickets will automatically be entered into the Main Sale.

• Participants will register for the Main Sale during a two-week period from January 9 until January 22 (at 11:59pm PST), 2012.
• Entrants will need to provide a valid credit or debit card number at the time of registration.
• On or before February 1, a random selection will be conducted to award 40,000 tickets as follows:
– $240: 10,000 tickets
– $320: 15,000 tickets
– $390: 15,000 tickets
• If you are awarded tickets, your credit card will be charged for the total amount of your tickets at that time.
• All sales at all Tiers for the Main Sale are limit 2 per person.
• Those who are awarded tickets will receive notification on or before February 1 via email that their credit cards have been charged for their tickets and at which pricing tier.
• Any remaining tickets not claimed in the Main Sale will be moved into the allotment for the Secondary Open Sale.

• Once lotteries are completed, 10,000 tickets will be held aside for open sale, plus any unclaimed tickets from the Main Sale.
• These tickets will be sold until they are gone.

ALL physical tickets from ALL THREE sales (except those that were designated to be held at Will Call) will be mailed in June 2012.

GATE AND WALK-UP OUTLET SALES: Tickets will NOT be sold at the Gate to Black Rock City, nor at Walk-Up Outlets.

RESALE TICKETS: Burning Man plans to create a centralized online system to facilitate the resale of unwanted/unneeded tickets. More details will be announced soon.

LOW INCOME/SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS: These separate programs will be merged into a new program designed to combine the best of each for 2012. The total number of low-income tickets will be increased (from last year’s total of 3,500) to serve more participants. Further details will be released after the Main Sale has begun.



Tickets to Burning Man 2012 will be sold via three methods. There will be two rounds of tickets offered by a random-selection process, followed by one round of open sales. We will also again offer a low income ticket program through special application. More information about the low income program will be posted soon.


Q: What are the prices of tickets?
A: Tier One tickets are $240 each, Tier Two tickets are $320 each, and Tier Three tickets are $390 each, plus applicable shipping and handling fees. Pre-Sale tickets are $420 each plus shipping and handling. Low Income tickets will be available via application in the Spring and will be $160.

Q: How many tickets can I buy?
A: We hope you’ll only buy what you need, as that makes more tickets available to others. Pre-sale allows 4 tickets per person. The Main Sale in January allows for 2 tickets at any tier. The Open Sale in March allows for 4 per person. Tickets sold through our Low Income program are one per person.

Q: How does this year’s ticket purchase system work?
A: The Open Sale will work like a typical transaction with real-time results as you would experience for a typical online purchase. The random-selection sales (our Pre-Sale and Main Sale) will work differently. During the registration period you will register for an opportunity to purchase tickets. At the end of the registration period, a computerized random selection will be conducted to award tickets to buyers.

Q: Isn’t the term “random selection” just another way of saying “lottery”?
A: Technically, yes, but in the public mind a “lottery” implies ONE winner, whereas in this case the system is being used to distribute tens of thousands of tickets, so the word “lottery” doesn’t accurately describe it.

Q: If I get a ticket through the Pre-Sale, Main Sale or Open Sales, can I still apply for a Low Income ticket?
A: No. These tickets are reserved for people who — financially — really need them.

Q: What are the available forms of payment for tickets?
A: We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diner’s Club credit cards.

Q: I don’t have a credit card, only a debit card. Can I use that?
A: Yes, you can use a debit card, as long as it carries a MasterCard or Visa logo. You’ll also want to check to make sure that your daily purchase limit is high enough to accommodate the price of the tickets you are hoping to buy.

Q: I don’t have a credit OR a debit card. How can I get tickets?
A: Pre-loaded single-use credit cards are available in a number of locations; as long as it is one of the accepted card types above, you can use it to purchase in the Pre-, Main or the Open Sale. In the past we allowed PayPal as an option, but that won’t be possible for ticket sales in 2012.

Q: Will my credit card number be safe?
A: Yes, our ticket vendor follows PCI Data Security Standards (www.pcisecuritystandards.org) to securely store your credit card information. Once all orders are complete and the registration period ends, all credit card and personal information will be removed from the system.

Q: Can I buy tickets at a walk-in outlet?
A: Tickets will no longer be available through our walk-in outlets. It was necessary to eliminate walk-in sales in 2011 once the event reached capacity, as there are no means to manage multiple-tiered ticket inventory at multiple walk in outlets while also selling tickets online without overselling. We do thank all our outlets for their years of service to our community and strongly encourage you to continue supporting their businesses!

Q: Can my tickets be held at Will Call?
A: Yes, Will Call will remain an option in 2012 instead of mailing a physical ticket, and all international orders will again be required to be at Will Call, located at the Black Rock City Gate.

Q: Will tickets be sold at the Gate to Black Rock City?
A: No.


Q: Can I register more than once?
A: No. Only one registration per person will be allowed. A variety of checks and mechanisms will be in place to ensure this is the case.

Q: Can I register multiple times with different credit cards?
A: No. Again, only one registration per person. This isn’t fair to others. If you’re trying to help your camp acquire tickets we urge you to look at the various purchasing options as additional opportunities and to utilize the approved “secondary sales” environment that we’ll be creating.

Q: Will I need to provide credit card info when I register?
A: Yes, a valid credit card will be required. Invalid credit card numbers will be disqualified for participation in the selection process. You will NOT have an opportunity to provide a secondary form of payment.

Q: If I am randomly selected to buy tickets will I then have to take another step to complete the purchase process?
A: No, if your entry is selected, the credit card you provided as part of your registration will be automatically charged for the number of tickets you indicated you wanted to buy (within stated limits, plus applicable fees).

Q: When does my credit card get charged?
A: After the random selection is complete, your credit card will be charged. For the Pre-Sale, that would be on or before December 19, 2011. For the Main Sale, that would be on or before February 1.

Q: How will I be notified that I have or have not been awarded tickets?
A: You will be emailed (at the email address you provided during registration) after the random selection process is complete and your credit card has been charged.

Q: If the system awards me a ticket, can I choose NOT to purchase tickets?
A: Nope. When the random selection happens, your credit card will be automatically and immediately charged for the full cost of your tickets … as always, all sales are final.

Q: What if I don’t have room on my credit card/debit card when the random selection process is complete?
A: The sale will not be processed and your ticket will go to someone else. One solution is to purchase a prepaid credit card for your tickets if you are concerned about fluctuating balances or available funds on your regular card.

Q: If I purchase tickets through the Main Sale, can I still purchase tickets through the Open Sale or the Low Income program?
A: No, once you have purchased tickets you are ineligible to purchase tickets through the Open Sale or to apply for Low Income tickets.


Q: How much do Pre-Sale tickets cost?
A: Pre-Sale tickets are $420 each, plus applicable shipping and handling fees.

Q: Is the Pre-Sale a random-selection process?
A: Yes. It will operate the same way as the Main Sale (see above).

Q: What are the dates I can register for the Pre-Sale?
A: The registration period for the Pre-Sale will be November 28, 2011 through December 11, 2011 at 11:59pm PST.

Q: If I register for the Pre-Sale, when will I be notified if I’ve been awarded tickets?
A: If you enter the Pre-Sale you will be notified of the outcome, either way, no later than December 19, 2011.

Q: How many Pre-Sale tickets may I buy?
A: Pre-Sale tickets are limited to four per person.

Q: How many tickets are available in the Pre-Sale?
A: 3,000.

Q: If I get Pre-Sale tickets, does that disqualify me from participating in the Main Sale?
A: Yes. However, if you are NOT selected to purchase Pre-Sale tickets, you will be automatically registered for the Main Sale.

Q: Why are the Pre-Sales tickets more costly than the Main Sale tickets?
A: Two reasons: to help prohibit exploitation of the system by those wishing to up their odds of getting tickets in the Main Sale, and also to help offset the reduced price of the lower tier and Low Income/Scholarship tickets.

Q: When will I get my Pre-Sale tickets?
A: If you’re purchasing during the Pre-Sale, you will receive a lovely digital image as part of your confirmation email which you can print out to give to your lucky recipient if you’re giving them as a gift. The physical tickets will be sent in the mail in June, at the same time the Main Sale and Open Sale tickets are sent out.


Q: When can I register for the Main Sale?
A: Registration for the Main Sale will be from January 9, 2012 to January 22, 2012 at 11:59pm PST.

Q: What are the chances that I won’t get a ticket?
A: It’s really impossible to say, as we don’t know how many people will register for the Main Sale. There are several opportunities to purchase a ticket, so this isn’t your only option.

Q: Will I possibly end up buying a ticket at a pricing tier I can’t afford?
A: No. During registration, you’re able to specify the highest pricing tier you wish to be considered for.

Q: How do I increase my chances of getting a ticket in the Main Sale?
A: You can increase your chances by opting into all the pricing tiers. (We believe, based on many years of analyzing supply and demand, that most participants will find they are able to access a ticket on an acceptable timeline.)

Q: How long will I have to wait to know if I’ve gotten tickets? How am I supposed to start planning?
A: There will be just over one week between the closing of registration and notification of results. You will find out by February 1 whether or not you got tickets in the Main Sale; if you are not awarded these tickets, you may purchase tickets during the Open Sale, until they are gone.

Q: Can I resell my tickets?
A: Yes. The process for changing the name on an order and reselling will be posted later. We believe the community will be best served if there is an official environment for secondhand (we call them “gently used”) ticket sales, and we plan to create such a tool. You are, as always, requested to sell your tickets only at or below face value. If you choose not to join us in Black Rock City and wish to re-sell your entry ticket, you should know that it’s frowned upon in our community to resell the ticket over face value.

Q: Why are physical tickets being sent out so late this year?
A: This limits the period of time that physical tickets spend in the market, thereby keeping the secondary market cooled down. It will also make it less likely that people will lose their tickets (a perennial problem). We’re also working to send the Survival Guide with the ticket at the same time.

Q: What if I move before my tickets are sent out?
A: You’ll need to change your address through the ticketing website.


Q: Doesn’t a random selection process run counter to being “radically inclusive”?
A: An event that might sell out and can’t accept all who want to participate is already in conflict with such a principle to some degree. With this system, you have a chance to get a ticket even if you can’t afford to spend time purchasing tickets online at a single specified launch time. Unfortunately, there may once again be more people that want tickets than there are tickets available; put simply, that means as far as Black Rock City goes, some who desire inclusion may not be able to attend.

This doesn’t mean someone isn’t part of the community, or is unwelcome to participate in Burning Man. Burning Man is not just one event — it’s a way of looking at life, and that is available to everyone. We do want everyone who wants to attend to be able to get a ticket, and we hope if anyone misses out, it won’t be very many.

Q: Where did you come up with the idea for this style of ticketing system?
A: We were inspired toward this solution by several other events that use random-selection systems to access a limited number of tickets. This includes several Burning Man Regional events (including Flipside in Texas, which has used a random selection process for years) and several larger-scale events worldwide. As a system for distributing tickets, we felt it would satisfy the need to improve the ticket buying experience and create a more even-handed way for our community to access tickets.

Q: What about collaboration? How will we know how to plan our camp/vehicle/performance/artwork if we don’t know how many people in our team will get a ticket?
A: This is an important question, because Burning Man is an intensely collaborative culture. We know that you can’t commit on an idea if you’re not sure your collaborators will be able to get tickets to the event. Given this, the Main Sale will happen very early in the year to help you know as quickly as possible how to plan. That said, we also know that a number of people (including core community members) either can’t commit by January or don’t have their money together in January; for them and any folks who don’t get tickets through the Pre-Sale or Main Sale, there are tickets being held aside for the Open Sale in March. This will allow projects to add collaborators as plans unfold — after theme camp/art/vehicle registration has begun and more plans are solidifying — and give them a crack at getting tickets. Plus, as there is every year, there will inevitably be a healthy aftermarket for tickets, sold by Burners who have extras or realize they can’t attend after all.

Q: But this system doesn’t really prevent scalpers! They’ll just register multiple names and decrease my chances of winning!
A: Actually, it does help prevent scalpers from purchasing tickets. Our ticket vendor has advanced filtering techniques to flag duplicates and prevent multiple entries from entering the system. However, the random-selection system is more about distributing opportunity for tickets than preventing speculation. If we sold tickets with a traditional first-come first-served online process, it would be susceptible to the ever-evolving automated scalper systems that currently purchase a lot of tickets to high profile events.

Q: Why not just register each ticket with a name and require ID at the Gate to use the ticket?
A: It has been our experience that a great many tickets are purchased for giving away, ensuring a project has coverage, or selling later to a friend in need. The administrative cost of changing the name on every ticket that ever changes hands exceeds our capacity. And frankly, many of your fellow BRC citizens are uncomfortable with the notion of showing ID just to enter the event (nor suffering through even longer wait times at the Gate). While we know some events use non-transferable tickets, we’re not convinced it works for our community. We’re counting on everyone playing fairly so we don’t have to go to an “ID-specific” process for ticket sales and event entry.

Q: OK, so what are my chances, really? Should I be worried I won’t get ANY tickets?
A: It is our genuine belief that while demand does exceed supply, it’s not by thousands upon thousands of tickets. We believe based upon our analysis that most participants who want a ticket will be able to get one.

Black Rock City citizens have a variety of options to acquire an entry ticket to Burning Man. The Pre- and Main Sales use random selection, the Open Sale is a first-come first-served (and real-time) transaction purchase, the Low Income process is an application that is read and approved by a human being, and then there’s the Burning Man community-monitored “secondary market”.

At a certain point, the demand outweighs supply, but we hope the various opportunities will mean most people will obtain what they need to enter Black Rock City in 2012. Thank you for your patience as we work together on managing ticket distribution for Burning Man.


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