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Burning Man Is Canceled for 2021 but They’re Keeping Your $2,500 Reservation Fee

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The Burning Man folks would like to thank you for your generous donation of $2,500 to reserve the right to buy a ticket to an event that is not happening this year.

It’s really not much of a surprise that organizers have chosen not to invite thousands of people to spread their viral love across the playa in 2021. But for those who have yet to accept that Burning Man now is not quite the anti-capital group that Burning Man once was, it may come as a surprise that the group is happy to keep the $2.5 million they raised on “reservation” fees.  

Billed as an “Invitation to the Future” sale, people with a Burner Profile were graced with the opportunity on April 10 to try and nab a maximum of two reservations at the low, low cost of $2,500 each. Only 1,000 reservations were made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Mind you, the reservation only secured the ability to purchase tickets at full cost at two of the next Black Rock City events. Those reservations are “non-refundable and non-transferrable” and don’t include the cost of actual tickets.   

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People fortunate enough to be placed on the cool kids reservation list this year will have to wait until 2022 to dish out more money once real tickets become available. In 2019, the eight-day ticket ran $475 with another $140 for a vehicle pass, and some extra fees for good measure. On the 2019 ticketing page, Burning Man organizers put it best themselves:

“That’s more than $600 before you even get gas in your car or buy plane tickets, which we know can put folks in a financial pinch.”   

All for the chance to camp in the desert, do copious amounts of drugs and pretend like money doesn’t matter. In all honesty, it sounds like a damn good time, but let’s not pretend the group hasn’t fallen into the capitalist trap when they’re holding onto $2.5 million people shelled out just for the opportunity to buy a ticket…someday.

Anywho, the Burning Man Project issued a statement Tuesday telling us all what we basically already knew — there will be no formal gathering and burn this summer. 

The statement reads:

“We have decided to set our sights on Black Rock City 2022.

This is not a decision that weighs on just one specific issue; rather, it’s a combination of problems that in an ever-changing world resist certainty to move forward. 

Humanity is experiencing collective trauma that is unprecedented in recent times, and while for some returning to Black Rock City may feel like “the answer,” there is very real rebuilding and healing that needs to be done before returning full force to the desert. The physical, psychic, and emotional impacts of this pandemic are real and the recovery from this experience will happen at different rates of speed. This is the time to gather with our friends, crews, families and communities. 

We have the time now to imagine what we can bring to Black Rock City 2022 that will really make a difference. What would it look like if Burning Man culture shaped the future? 

How do you want to bring the best of what you have to give to the next gathering in the desert? 

How bold can you go?”

This is from a satire piece we ran a little while ago 🙂

Organizers instead urge people join the Virtual Burning Man between August 21 and September 5 and “connect with Burning Man culture” in their daily lives and with regional communities. There’s nothing at all wrong with helping and connecting with your fellow peeps on a small scale and throwing some love to groups like Burners Without Borders, but it certainly doesn’t require a $2,500 reservation to do so.


Editors note – The folks at Burning Man sent this in as an explainer:

While many have been hit hard financially this past year, others are able to help without sacrificing their own comfort and wellbeing. The Invitation to the Future is a way for those who can to demonstrate their belief in the global cultural importance of Burning Man and Black Rock City – a way to invest in the limitless possibilities of our co-created future.

The Burning Man community has always depended on each individual contributing when and how they are able, trusting in the natural balance of the organism to shift, rise, and compensate as needed. It is on the strength of our beautifully varied backgrounds and lived experiences that the community must now rely more than ever. The Invitation to the Future is an expression of the extraordinary Communal Effort that will be required to continue offering the healing and inspiration of Burning Man to the world.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.

9 Comments

  1. Grinder
    April 27, 2021 at 1:24 pm — Reply

    The $2500 future guaranteed tickets are being offered for 2022 and 2023, not 2021.

  2. freshied
    April 27, 2021 at 4:46 pm — Reply

    “The ability to purchase tickets at full cost at two of the next Black Rock City events” It was stated at the time they announced this that it was not tied to specific years and this was no guarantee that there would be a 2021 event. This was absolutely “Caveat Emptor”. While I am not any sort of BMorg proponent, it makes good sense for them to do this 1000 ticket block to raise cash in order to survive. It is NOT changing any accessiblity to the event, it is less than 1.5% of tickets sold. I have no issues getting a ticket to BM through DGS program, be a part of the party and you shall always get to the party.

  3. Sloppy Second Coming
    April 27, 2021 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    The reservation is essentially a guarantee that the donor will be able to secure tickets for the next two brc events in the desert. The guarantee means not having to wait in a queue to purchase and hope you get tickets. It’s really no different than the “fomo ticket” from 2019 or the higher priced “presale” before that. The donation is tax deductible. The organization that secures the permits and works with umpteen federal, state, local, and tribal entities including law enforcement operates 365/24/7 so as with any company or non profit there are operating costs. Some of that funding goes to grant programs for artists to build the art that goes out there, some of it goes to the non profits like Burners without Borders who are a direct response action group for things like fires, natural disasters, floods etc They literally help people recover from untenable conditions and help them do stuff like build shelter, source portable water, make energy etc . So stop with your smugness. BAS you pander for donations to keep your for profit operations running, so don’t act like you’re decomodified and pooping rainbows and marshmallows out of your ass.

  4. Dano
    April 28, 2021 at 4:51 am — Reply

    Your party is cancelled, but the $2500 fees will go a long way for their parties.

  5. Whammy Bar
    April 28, 2021 at 11:08 am — Reply

    The critique of the Reservation Fee is not based in reality. The BMan Org (BORG) were very clear about what is was and how it was to be used and that it wasn’t necessarily for 2021. There was no deception at all. The people that purchased it (I have no idea if it even sold out), knew what they were doing and why. I expect it was a way to 1) help out the org, and 2) remove the hassle of getting a ticket next time, 3) (possibly), making sure that DGS tickets in their camp were available for those that don’t have the funds for the reservation fee.

  6. Matthew Gerring
    April 29, 2021 at 1:33 pm — Reply

    First of all, how the fuck are you writing for Broke Ass Stuart and getting mad about creative ways of separating rich people from their money?

    Second, as several people have pointed out, the email that went out about this was very clear that the reservation was for *the next two Burning Man events*, whenever those may be, and that 2021 might not happen.

    I get that it’s easy to rake in hate clicks for anything Burning Man related, but goddamn, at least get your facts right

  7. Cadence
    April 29, 2021 at 2:52 pm — Reply

    In conclusion: the more money needy BM became over many years the more it began to suck.

  8. Sloppy Second Coming
    April 29, 2021 at 9:02 pm — Reply

    “ There’s nothing at all wrong with helping and connecting with your fellow peeps on a small scale and throwing some love to groups like Burners Without Borders, but it certainly doesn’t require a $2,500 reservation to do so.”

    Nik, you sir, are a schmuck. The $2000 or $2500 “reservation” is a donation with the understanding that it’s a donation that is tax deductible. Nothing requires a donation. Or for you to insist on being so contrarian. I’m sure someone at your office knows someone who knows someone who can get you into BRC if you just drop some names and pretend like you’ve been into it despite what all the neigh-sayers think.

  9. April 30, 2021 at 12:54 am — Reply

    i’m not sure what about taxing the rich so that burning man can continue its operations is so bad. it’s a big organization and needs the money to continue its operations. and while, it’s exclusionary, it’s only 1k tix out of what 70-75k. this is yet another case of fauxrage.

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