Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Burning Man Bummer

If you were planning on going to Burning Man this year and you have not yet bought your ticket, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but apparently, for the first time in the 25-year history of this little hippie-fest gone mainstream, they have sold out.

Now, according to the Burning Blog (which is apparently all things Burning Man), "The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area, requires us to manage growth in line with the previous year’s population in order to comply with our use permit. As a result, Burning Man has exercised its oft-stated right to cap ticket sales." I'm not really quite sure what that means, but let me ask you something. How in the hell are you going to prevent people from going into the desert? I can't imagine that there is a fence all the way around the thing. What's to stop you from just going around or something?

Then I learned that the tickets to this thing are either $210 or $360! I have no idea what the difference in price gets you, but considering that you're out in the middle of the scorching Nevada desert for three days (or something like that), I should hope that it is something besides admittance and a T-shirt. The blog even says "The Black Rock Desert is an extremely remote, inhospitable environment with limited resources, minimal facilities, and few camping opportunities in the vicinity." Inhospitable? For $360?! For any amount of money, if I am staying somewhere, I'm going to have to insist on hospitable. Call me crazy.

And while I'm not sure just how many tickets were sold this year, I looked at past year's attendance records and the figure seems to be gradually growing to where it was around 49,000 in 2008. At $210 per ticket, that's $10,290,000!! Does ALL of that get paid to the Bureau of Land Management or whatever it is?! And that's just the low figure. If you figured that half of those tickets were $210 and the other half were $360, then that comes out to right around $13,965,000! Now I am dying to know how the financials of this whole thing work. It's expensive and fascinating!

The blog also encourages people who are selling their tickets to do so at face value or, better yet, to just give them away! I guess that is supposed to be in the "spirit" of Burning Man. Then again, if that's the "spirit" of Burning Man, I'm not sure what the charge is for in the first place. But I did a quick run down on San Francisco's craigslist and from what I can tell, not a lot of people are selling them. Those who were selling seemed to actually be abiding by the request to just sell them at face value. The interesting part is that those who were looking for tickets seemed to be willing to pay more than face value for them. I don't know if that is violating the "spirit" or not. I also noticed that quite a few people are willing to trade a lot of weed for Burning Man tickets. That seems to be totally within the "spirit".

It's an interesting outing, the Burning Man. Maybe I should look into a press pass or something. I have the feeling that a couple of days at that thing would give me blog fodder for weeks to come afterward. Just a hunchl

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