CLOSE

Once you're in Black Rock City, commerce largely comes to an end. People exchange goods and services through the city's "gifting" economy. Trevor Hughes/USA TODAY

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2015, but we've freshened it up so that if you didn't get a ticket this year -- in 2019 -- we have some other choices you can think about. 

If you did not get a Burning Man ticket today, join the party. 

Tens of thousands of people will walk away Wednesday without one of the golden tickets to the giant art celebration (We know! It's not a "festival!") in the desert. This year's rendezvous takes place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 2 in the Black Rock Desert, about two hours north of Reno.

Approximately 23,000 $425 tickets (That's 4,000 less main sale tickets than last year) and 10,000 $100 vehicle passes are on the selling block. While there are far worse things than not getting a Burning Man ticket -- the plague, a hangnail and a piano falling on your head for starters -- we understand that some of you might be slightly distressed by your noon plan not working out.

Here are a few tips on how to still get a Burning Man ticket:  

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

1. Work on a project 

Truly the most admirable way to get a ticket is to earn one. Burning Man is issuing more tickets than ever to arts, volunteer groups. There are 32,000 face-value tickets (4,000 more than last year) issued to critical theme camps, art installation crews, mutant vehicle crews and other core Black Rock City infrastructure providers. In other words, you need to do something pretty damn awesome to get a ticket this way, though there are tons of channels. Help build a stunning sculpture, or perhaps volunteer your time to building the city itself. If you're in the Reno-Sparks area, check out the Generator maker space, where they are building the 2018 Temple, among other projects, and, if you're in the Bay Area, check out any one of the maker spaces in the San Francisco-Oakland area. 

Upsides:

- You become part of a family of creatives, and you get to see the fruits of your labor contribute to the event. 

Downsides:

- This sale already passed... but you may find that your work will pay off and someone who has tickets might send some your way. 

- It does not always work out that there are enough tickets for everyone that has contributed to the project. 

2. The OMG Sale

The OMG Sale includes the sale of 3,000 tickets at $550 each (That's 1,000 more than last year, but the tickets cost $125 more than main sale tickets), and 1,500 vehicle passes (That's $250 more than last year) available at $100 each, plus applicable fees. The sale is essentially a last-chance sale of tickets and also is first-come, first-serve and requires registration.

Upsides:

- You can buy up to two tickets and one vehicle pass.

Downsides:

- The OMG sale as of 2019 is more expensive than the main ticket sale.

- The only delivery methods available for this sale are UPS second day air mail (for U.S. addresses), Canada UPS Expedited, and Will Call, which could mean a painfully long wait if compares at all to last year.

3. The Low Income Ticket Program 

This program is eserved for those who are in, and can demonstrate, actual financial need. There are 4,000 tickets (That's 500 more than last year) at $210 each (That's $20 more than last year) are available through the Low Income Ticket Program. These tickets are reserved for participants on a limited income who cannot otherwise afford a regular priced ticket. These tickets are non-transferable.

Upsides:

- Cheap tickets.

- Burning Man does not list an income bracket that is eligible.

Downsides:

- This program will take a little work to participate in. You must provide proof of your income and expenses; applications without documentation are not considered.

4. Secure Ticket Exchange Program

The Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) is an online system that facilitates the safe resale of face-value tickets and vehicle passes that have been purchased directly from Burning Man. It's designed to provide a hassle-free, secure way of buying and selling tickets while avoiding scammers, counterfeits and scalper, according to Burning Man's website. A Burner profile and pre-registration is required for the program, which lasts five months and is open to those wanting to buy and sell tickets and vehicle passes.

Upsides:

- Ticket orders purchased in STEP in the past have been fully transferable and eligible for name changes.

- Ticket orders purchased in STEP last year were eligible for shipping. 

- Anyone offered ticket(s) through STEP has had the option to purchase one (1) vehicle pass.

Downsides:

- Burning Man organizers have not released the details of this year's STEP program yet, so there could be some big changes ahead. The program is a work in progress at the moment. 

- Any ticket order that has already begun the fulfillment and delivery process -- which is in July -- in the past has not been eligible for submission into STEP.

- In the past, only $425 tickets and vehicle passes can be sold through STEP— pre-sale tickets are not eligible.

- There has been an additional charge for each ticket and vehicle pass bought through STEP. All other usual fees apply.

- Availability of tickets is dependent on participants releasing tickets into the program.

- You have had to get into line quick for STEP too, because tickets are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

5. Purchase a ticket from a friend or stranger

Some people are not going to go. Some people already know this, and some won't decide until the last minute. In fact, the closer it gets to the Burn, the more people want to get rid of their tickets if they cannot make it. August is the time when people have to decide: Am I going or not? So, a surprising number of tickets become available right before the Burn, Aug. 25 to Sept. 2.

Craigslist has ticket sales ads (both ones wanting to buy and sell), but figuring out how to not fall for a scam is on you. There also are Burner groups on social media (such as the "Burning Man Ticket Begging" group on Facebook) where you can plea pathetically without getting flack from jaded Burners. The best option is to get on social media and throw a net, hoping that one of your coworker's friend's cousin's has a ticket (Worked for me last year.). Heck, offer to sell your soul. No, don't do that. It's better to somehow know the person you are buying from, and hope that 425 bucks will suffice versus handing over your dignity in the form of your soul or an inflated pricetag.

Upsides:

- You could get a ticket.

Downsides:

- You could get scammed and never get a ticket. Your ticket could be a counterfeit (Burning Man offers tips on how to distinguish a counterfeit ticket.). You also could pay way more than face value, which Burning Man highly discourages because it perpetuates the scalping system.

6. Go to a different Burn

There are many official regional Burns throughout the year, including Nowhere in Spain, AfrikaBurn in South Africa, Israel's Midburn, Flipside in Austin — there are more than 70 Burns throughout the world, according to Burning Man. There are tons of Burns all around the United States alone. Try something new. Be bold. Take a risk. It's the true Burner way.

Upsides:

- The regional Burns are smaller in size and, as a result, are not as generously criticized for violating the principles that Burning Man was founded upon.

- You can see a new place and have a unique experience that many traditional Burners never have had.

Downsides:

- Travel expenses could be steeper, depending on where you're headed.

- None of the regionals have as much art as Black Rock City.

- Because of restrictions preventing wildfires, some Burns -- such as Nowhere -- don't allow burning. Go figure.

7. Do something else this year 

There are a million bajillion ways to add excitement in your life besides Burning Man. While it is often touted that there is "nothing like it," there is also nothing like going to Machu Picchu or fly fishing in Montana or taking a National Geographic photography class in India (Sorry, these are just a few of my bucket list items that I'm sometimes certain I'd rather do than Burning Man when it gets hot out on the playa.). Don't forget how grand and giant this world is, and how many experiences you could fit in your life for the price of Burning Man. 

Upsides:

- Burning Man costs a lot of money (don't forget, beyond the tickets you have to buy the food, water, supplies, etc.) and for the price of one ticket, you could have a whole lot of fun. 

- You can choose to go somewhere that's not dusty, hot and full of dirty humans. 

Downsides:

- You're not going to Burning Man. 

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://on.rgj.com/2oz9xyD