Tickets And The Burning Melon

A ticket

Worth the work.

Getting Tickets To Burning Man Sucks

Getting a ticket is, hand's down, the absolute worst part of going to Burning Man. It is a pain. It is a hassle. It can be confusing and it can definitely be discouraging. So here's what we are going to do! First we are going to break down all the many different ways you can get a ticket, and then - if that doesn't do the trick - we're gonna have a nice little conversation about all of the rest of this nonsense below that. Sound good? Good. Now let's us break down the ways you can get a ticket just like this lady crushes a melon with her legs:

Nine Ways To Get Tickets To Burning Man

What:1. Directed Group Sales
In 2019 Burning Man started a "Cultural Course Correction" which included some changes in the way tickets get distributed. So now as a way to help keep Burning Man's culture from being turned in a Coachella culture the first folk to get a chance to buy regular priced ($425) tickets are returning Burning Man theme camps and artists. If you are reading this page this sale probably is not for you (yet!)
Where:Directed Group tickets are made available, after invitation, via registration through Burning Man's Burner Profile system. More info on the sale is e-mailed to you after registration.
When:Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 at 12pm PDT
What:2. Low Income Ticket Program
Every year Burning Man sets aside a limited number of $210 tickets for those who qualify and fill out the necessary paperwork. This year there are 4,500 of them. More info here!
Where:There is a special section of the Burner Profiles just for this.
When:Applications for Low Income Tickets can be turned in until April 15, 2020 or until all the tickets have been allotted.
What:3. Rich people sales! (aka Fo'Mo Sale fka Pre-Sale)
Because some people have a lot more money than us (maybe? I don't know your finances). And for better or worse the Burning Man Organization sells 4,000 $1,400 tickets to them before they sell tickets to the plebs. Yeah, it is pretty gross. But trust me, it is better than it used to be!
Where:These tickets, like all official Burning Man Ticket sales, are made available after you pre-register through Burning Man's Burner Profile system
When:Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 12pm PDT (Registration from Wednesday, March 11 - Friday, March 13)
What:4. Main Sale
The single least fun thing about the entire Burning Man experience! The annual running of the Burners when everyone and their dog seems to vie for an increasingly limited number of $425 tickets. Only fun if you score one... Fuck that though, we encourage everyone to purchase TWO tickets if they get through to the final step of the sale. Our trusted Ticket Fairy will help your second ticket find a worthy Burner and you will get your money back ASAP. Melon's honor.
Where:Main Sale tickets are sold after registration through Burning Man's Burner Profile system. To be eligible to buy a ticket you MUST register before the sale. More info on the sale is e-mailed to you after registration.
When:Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 12 pm PDT (Registration from Wednesday, April 1 – Friday, April 3, 2020)
What:5. STEP (Secure Ticket Exchange Program)
Burners don't like scalpers. So Burning Man set up its own program to allow ticketed folks to resell their tickets safely (and with no mark-up) to the less fortunate. This system isn't perfect, but it does work sometimes!
Where:Take a wild guess! That's right, once again you sign up for this via Burning Man's Burner Profile system. More info on the sale is e-mailed to you after registration.
When:Ticket sellers can sign up on a date TBA if they can no longer use their tickets (note: you should really work with the Ticket Fairy if you can no longer use your ticket instead! The fairy will match you up with another melon looking for a ticket).
Ticket buyers can start signing up on a date TBA. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you should sign up as soon as possible. STEP closes on a date TBA.
What:6. Insecure Ticket Exchanges (not recommended)
Once tickets are sent out (in mid-June) folks don't just sell tickets via STEP, they also sell them in all the usual ways with all the usual caveats. These means can certainly work but they can also be real nail-biters. We'll talk about a few ways to reduce the stress (and be a good Burner) further down this page.
Where:Y'know, Craigslist, Stubhub, AOL chat rooms, the men's room of a lesbian bar in Louisville, wherever the fates find you.
When:The minute the Main Sale is over people, sometimes bad people but sometimes not, start selling marked-up tickets online. We wouldn't trust any of them until tickets are actually out in the mail though (that means starting mid-June).
What:7. Ask Around!
Ask your friends! Ask your moms! Ask that adorable tiny dog that just popped out of a box of blankets sitting on top of the bar you just walked into in Seoul. Let them know that what you want, more than anything in the world, is a ticket to That Thing In The Desert. You'll be shocked how many tickets this method pulls out of the woodwork.
Where:Anywhere in the Default World.
What:8. The Burning Melon Ticket Fairy
Because sometimes asking friends/family/bar animals doesn't work out. That's when you turn to your camp. And while the Burning Melon camp's personal Ticket Fairy can not in any way promise that he can find you a ticket (he's a fairy, not magic!), he does keep his ear close, close, close to the ground and is always looking to help match a melon in need with a melon with an extra a ticket.
Where:In the melon patch (aka an email from the Ticket Fairy)
When:When it happens.
What:9. OMG Sale
Like manna from Heaven, less than a month before the Man burns an extra 3,000 tickets are released into the wild for those who believe. Oh-em-gee! But OMG ain't free, mon frère, those last minute tickets go for $550 
Where:This is another official sale, so once again you sign up for it via Burning Man's Burner Profile system.
When:Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 12 pm PDT (registration from Wednesday, July 29 – Friday, July 31, 2020)

I Still Need A Ticket Though!

Ok, ok, that list is all well and good but I still have questions! Yeah? That's fair, questions are great. Shoot!

Well I didn't get a ticket in the Main Sale and I'm stressed! Aw, don't be stressed. You look great today! Your hair looks fabulous the earth is still spinning around the sun and the fact that you are here, reading about Melons tells me that you are making some excellent life choices.

Yeah, but I still don't have a ticket! I know, but that's ok! Did you see all the ways you can still get a ticket we listed above? You still have lots of options.

I did, I did. But I want a ticket now! What do I do? Chill the fuck out. Seriously. By far the least pleasant part of the Burning Man experience is the actual obtaining of the tickets to Burning Man. By the time the Main Sale arrives, so many people want to go to That Thing In The Desert that there simply aren't enough tickets for everybody. Which makes the endless waiting on the digital lines, the fretting over registration dates versus sale dates, and reading people's humblebrags on the tweetbooks after you didn't get actually get a ticket yourself, so very not awesome. 
Right! That's why I'm asking! I know, but here's the thing: over the course of the year there are actually quite a few ways to get tickets to Burning Man (see above!) and though it is hard for most people to believe, by the time August rolls around there are often a lot of tickets floating out there. For serious! Things happen! People get jobs! People lose jobs! People get married! People get divorced! People make little people! People decide that what they really want to do is teach dental hygiene on the island of Una Una in the Gulf of Tomini! Life in the Default World happens, is what we're saying. And if you want to get a ticket, well, you just need to internalize those Ten Principles and get a little radically self-reliant. 

Really? Really. If you really want to go the playa, just keep on acting like you are going to be going. Keep on looking for tickets. Keep on hustling. It's gonna work out! By the time of the actual Burn there are often quite a few extras floating out there. Promise.

What's The Deal With Vehicle Passes?

Ok, so what's the deal with the vehicle passes they sell with tickets? Do I need one? That's a good question! As a way to reduce traffic and the time it takes to get in and out of Black Rock City, Burning Man in the past few years has limited the number of cars allowed onto the playa by only allowing in ones with vehicle passes. Do you need one though? That unfortunately is something you can only answer if you know how you are getting to the playa. If you don't know the answer to that (i.e. you don't think you'll be driving your own car in) then you probably don't need one. Worse comes to worse and you suddenly find that you are driving in and you can most likely get yourself a vehicle pass closer to the burn on the secondary market (or ask the Ticket Fairy, he probably knows someone looking to unload one).

Should I Buy Tickets On Secondary Markets?

I'm glad you mentioned secondary markets. How much is too much to pay for a ticket on the secondary market? This is a tricky, tricky question. The official answer is anything above face value. Burners (Melons included) highly discourage scalping and of buying/selling tickets for anything above face value. Still, it does happen. But seriously, don't. But also let's not talk about it. Ok?

Sure, but let's say it is a ticket being resold at face value, how do I know if I'm buying a real ticket from some cat in a back alley? That's a good question and one that members of the XVC will happily talk to you about in a private chat. Just ask them!

What Do I Do With An Extra Ticket?

So I can't make it to the burn any more and now I have an extra ticket? What should I do with it? Aw, so sorry you to hear you won't be able to make it to the Burn this year. Don't worry though, it was always better next year! In the meantime there are definitely quite a few Melons who would love to take that ticket off your hands (did you see the above questions?!?). Seriously, just shoot a line over to the Burning Melon Ticket Fairy (he's all over the Melon Facebook group) or the Melon XVC ( and they'll happily set you up with somebody who will buy it off of you at cost. Just think how happy you will make them!

Are There Any Other Ways To Get Tickets You Didn't Mention?

Not yet. In past years the BMorg has released a few hundred "Burner Express Plus" tickets available at cost only to Burners who take the Burner Express Bus. Still TBD if they will do that again every year.

Want to read much, much more about Tickets? The official Burning Man Tickets Page covers a lot of this in even more depth!