Theoretically, you are not supposed to be able to get a Burning Man ticket this late in the game. But are you serious about still getting one? Burning Man tickets sold out within minutes of becoming available. The festival’s brilliant but underutilized Secure Ticket Exchange Program closed in late July. Scalpers on eBay and StubHub are currently charging $1,500 to $5,000 a pop for a single Burning Man ticket. You don’t have that kind of money and time’s running out. And if one more smug, ticket-holding zen motherfucker tells you, “Don’t worry, the universe will provide” you’ll feel like providing him with a broken clavicle.
But that smug, ticket-holding zen motherfucker is right. The universe will provide – to some random person who’s in the right place at the right time. You just need to bust your ass and network hard to make sure that random person is you. With Burning Man starting in just a few days, you need to pretty much camp out on Facebook and Craig’s List to nail that random situation that will indeed be nailable sometime in the days to come.
StubHub and eBay are the wrong way to get a Burning Man ticket. These are the right ways to get a Burning Man ticket at the 11th hour.
There are 2 free Burning Man tickets sitting on Craig’s List right now. I swear to God I am not making this up. The image above is from an active and current Craig’s List posting entitled 2 Burning Man Tickets – $1 in which a couple named “Disco Danny & Sparkle” are flat-out gifting their tickets to whoever writes the most compelling and persuasive response to their offer.
“My wife and I would like to gift our tickets to 2 people as we cannot now go to Burning Man… We’d like to make sure these tickets get to the right people. We truly are gifting these tickets. Well not exactly ‘gifting’ as we’re selling them for $1 a piece.”
Fuck the tickets. I just wanna party with Disco Danny & Sparkle.
“We would like to hear from you as to what Burning Man means to you and what you hope to learn from this year’s Burn. You DO NOT have to be a veteran Burner to get these. Virgins are welcome to write their intentions as well!”
Disco Danny & Sparkle say they “plan on making our decision this Friday, August 22”. That means you’ve got ‘til midnight tonight to write your tearjerking, richly deserving sob story to get those tickets from these two deeply wonderful people who exemplify that special magic of Burner generosity.
And then there’s this guy.
Here we see a since-deleted post called Burning Man- Girlfriend needed (All Expenses PAID). While this Las Vegas-area Craig’s List post has been deleted, I’ve grabbed a screen shot here. Let’s have a look at what this proposal entails.
“Broke up with girlfriend and don’t want to drive up/back and experience solo. Looking to meet and take a female, up to 44 years old. Will consider a third if it’s a woman.”
Wouldn’t we all.
“Expectations… are a romantic connection- a Girlfriend Experience (lol- crazy, I know – but worth the shot;)… and a week of fun at BM- all costs and expenses paid (take you shopping) we also have the coolest transportation once on the Playa.”
The post went viral for about 2 hours, was ridiculed on social media and was quickly deleted. Oh, I imagine a certain recently broken-up-with girlfriend in the Las Vegas area is enjoying a pretty good chuckle over all this.
These examples are outliers. You will generally pay money but not have to do anal to get a Burning Man ticket on Craig’s List. Right now the going rate for an available Burning Man ticket on Craig’s List is $400 to $600. Maybe 10 available tickets get posted every day, and those posts get deleted quick because the posters get inundated with replies. You need to focus on replying as quickly as possible from when the ticket is posted. I am told anecdotally by many people that the prices go down and the number of available tickets goes up on Craig’s List once Burning Man officially starts and life events start thwarting peoples’ plans to leave town.
Your best bet is to just post to Facebook that you need a Burning Man ticket and follow up like mad on every single lead you get in the comments. Your second-best bet is to monitor the Burning Man hashtag on Facebook, which prioritizes your friends’ posts first, then shows statuses from a non-stop parade of random Facebook idiots posting about Burning Man. A few of these posts every day will be genuine ticket offers. Someone needs a driver, someone needs a solderer, someone needs an immediate cash buyer in the Fairfield-Suisun City area because they’re leaving in an hour…it’s random, it’s crazy, and you need to hunker down and constantly monitor that page for any and all offers whose random criteria you might meet.
“You must live on your social media so you are first to reply,” says local filmmaker Alexandra Liss, whose name you’ll recognize for her work on this fine website. Ms. Liss has her own last-minute-Burning-Man-ticket-on-Facebook miracle story that should drive this point home.
Know People Who Know People
Alexandra was and continues to be romantically involved with an Andrew de Andrade, who is named in the Facebook miracle post above. “Being [Andrew’s] over-planning girlfriend, I was not going to go unless I could find him a ticket. We were not looking for a free ticket,” she recalls. “The burn already started, this was last year 8/28. Most tickets were already gone or used. I was a message away from giving away my ticket and not going.”
“When I saw that email, I almost had a heart attack – but the good kind, “ Alexandra says. “It was as though the playa gods were looking out for us.”
Now that’s the kind of Girlfriend Experience I’m in favor of.
Don’t Give Up
I don’t care how hopeless your ticket quest seems, keep at it. Take it from the guy above, who lost his ticket on the sidewalk in The Mission but still managed to get it back. I cannot track him down or name him because he’s already out at Burning Man, but this is his story.
“Yesterday afternoon I went to pick up my Burning Man ticket. After walking home for about 10 minutes, I realize it is not in my pocket. In despair, I spend 1.5 hours searching the streets of the Mission and find nothing. I finally give up and head home, taking the loss and starting the chase to find a new ticket. One of the places I check is Craig’s List, where I also posted the message ‘Dropped my ticket! Need a new one!’
Today I get an email with one line: ‘Where did you drop it?’ Not getting my hopes up yet, I write back and describe my route.
The message back tells me, ‘Yep. I found your ticket on Van Ness yesterday. I’m willing to bet it’s yours.’
What insanity is this? I dropped my ticket on the streets of San Francisco and I got it back!
Playa magic hits early this year!
So network like a banshee and camp out on Facebook and Craig’s List. And if you run into that guy at Burning Man, man will you have some stories to share.
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