Burning Man tickets went on sale at noon Wednesday, and despite (or because of?) some technical glitches, Burners with pent-up demand snatched up all the tickets in a mere 29 minutes.
You can’t blame Burning Man fans for being on the edge of their furry bicycle seats when tickets for the 2022 return of Burning Man went on sale earlier Wednesday afternoon (at $575 a pop!). After all, the 2020 Burning Man was canceled, and 2021 was canceled too, though some “renegade” version managed to draw the likes of Paris Hilton and Diplo out to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert last year.
This is the hour tens of thousands of self actualized and centered people stress anxiously as they wait for Burning Man tickets on a system built on HTML 2.0— Cameron Sinclair (@casinclair) March 30, 2022
So there was plenty of pent-up demand for tickets to the first real Burning Man since 2019 when tickets went on sale promptly at 12 noon on Wednesday. But as of 12:29 p.m., not even 30 minutes later, many ticket buyers found their fortunes were in the porta-potty.
The Burning Man tickets Main Sale sold out in 29 minutes.
The Burning Man Project tried to put it diplomatically. Right when tickets sold out at 12:29 p.m., they posted that “All Main Sale tickets and vehicle passes are currently in purchase carts. Tickets may become available as people finalize their purchases."
But that wasn’t the whole story. I myself was in that ticket queue, and just minutes after 12 noon, and I got the “Oops, something went wrong… Failed to fetch” message seen above. Other users on Twitter reported the same.
We are looking into a bottleneck issue caused by the extremely high spike of traffic at noon, which resulted in some people having trouble accessing Profiles if they attempted to do so shortly after 12p PT.— Burning Man Project (@burningman) March 30, 2022
And about a half-hour later, the Burning Man project acknowledged that there was indeed some sort of "bottleneck issue."
“We are looking into a bottleneck issue caused by the extremely high spike of traffic at noon, which resulted in some people having trouble accessing Profiles if they attempted to do so shortly after 12p PT,” they tweeted. While many of us were able to log in after a few attempts, even that brief lag probably bumped us a few thousand spots down the queue, leading us to be shit outta luck.
If there is one burning man ticket that shows up as a goddamn NFT I will Will Smith a MoFo.— rachel harvest (@Harvest_Method) March 30, 2022
But people, you may not be shit outta luck. The capacity for Burning Man’s current special recreation permit is 80,000. Today’s Main Sale only sold 10,000 tickets. They only sold 12.5% of their capacity today.
It’s a marketing and logistics phenomenon I like to call “the illusion of scarcity.” Remember when Hamilton tickets sold out right away, but then the show curiously “found” more tickets to release, plus there were $10 lottery tickets? Something similar is happening here. The “scarcity” may not be as scarce as it appears.
The Burning Man tickets page will inform you that there are still the discount Ticket Aid Program tickets (formerly the Low Income Ticket Program), plus the OMG Sale (August 3), plus the official resale exchange called the Secure Ticket Exchange Program.
So even if you didn’t get Burning Man tickets today, maybe don’t give up on your Burning desires.
Image: Flames shoot from an "art car" as it drives across the desert during the15th annual Burning Man festival September 2, 2000 in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. Despite high winds, dust storms, and a bit of rain, some 27,000 people camped out on a remote desert playa, or dry lake, for the week-long counter-cultural celebration of art and "radical self-expression." This year's theme was the body. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers)