2020 2021 2022 is the year to go to Burning Man! After two years of being pandemic canceled, this week-long event in the Nevada desert is on once again. Every year the decision-makers at the Burning Man Organization create a process for buying tickets that enhances the chances for equitable sales. 2022 has new adjustments meant to honor those who participate in creating the event and limit those who are “tourists.”
What is Burning Man?
According to the Burning Man Organization (BM.org) “Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome.”
Burning Man is not a festival, where the entertainment is curated by the producers. Rather, participants bring their own art, creativity, skills and talents to gift to others. For eight days attendees camp in the desert, bringing everything they need in with them – from tents, food, clothing, costumes, to whatever art or structures they build – and at the end leaving no trace they were there. While there are few regulations, there are ten guiding principles burners -as those who take part in the community call themselves – follow.
How to Get Tickets
Burning Man started in 1986 as a group of friends having a bonfire at Bakers Beach in San Francisco. Since then it’s grown to take up a large section of a lake-bed desert in Nevada (bigger than the Alvord Desert, but similar in environment) and host to over 70,000 people. The competition for tickets is high. Procedures have been put in place to keep ticket scalpers at bay. This year there are COVID-19 protocols to follow. If you truly want to go, you will find a way.
The first step is to create a Burner Profile. That is their way of preregistering and keeping bots from the buying spree. On the Ticket Information page you will find the details for not only creating your profile, but the limitations when you are in the ticket buying line.
In general, there are six opportunities/levels for buying tickets.
The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is the highest priced tier. Tickets at this level are $2,500 and $1,500 and guarantee you a ticket. In essence, this pricing offsets another level for those with low incomes – now called the Ticket Aid Program. The FOMO sale happened February 2 and was rumored to have sold out between 15 minutes and an hour. Compare this to when this level was first launched a few years ago when it took weeks to sell out.
If you have been to a Burning Man event before, or have become involved with an art installation,mutant art vehicle or theme camp, you will have access to the Stewards Sale. This year, BM.org has increased the amount of tickets to 35,000 as a way to honor those whose hard work makes the event happen in its unique way. To buy these $475 tickets, buyers still have to pre register February 23- March 4 and be ready to purchase at noon Pacific time March 9.
The Ticket Aid Program will start accepting applications March 16 – May 18 for the $225 level. If you are one of the 5,000 accepted, you will purchase their tickets between July 25 – July 28. Expect that after all the job issues from the pandemic, that this level will also be highly competitive.
The Main Sale, STEP and the OMG sales are the best bets for first-timers to get tickets for $575 each. Main Sale registration for the opportunity to purchase from the 10,000 ticket allotment, is March 23 – 25, and the sale starts at noon on March 30. STEP, the program to counter scalpers and allow ticket holders to appropriately sell theirs, does not have a set date yet, but usually happens closer to summer. OMG -the last official shot at tickets – offering up a chance at one of the 3,000 pool, opens for registration July 27-29 and the sale starts at noon on August 3rd.
The unofficial way to get a ticket after the sales is to buy one from someone who has it and can no longer go. The tickets are fully transferable.
Local Burners Unite
Here in Corvallis there is a community of burners, some of whom can be found through Corvallis Burners. As they say on the group’s About, it’s a way to “organise shenanigans and talk lots of trash.”
Eugene and Portland have active communities and regular events as well.
Another option to the big Burning Man event is to attend a regional. The PNW area event happens Memorial Day weekend called SOAK. Check the website for ticket info, which is still TBD.
More on Burning Man
This story originally ran in the Corvallis Advocate February 23, 2022. Check out the personal essay I also wrote and ran next to this story called “How Burning Man Transformed Me From Corporate Wonk to Artist.”