Destination Black Rock City #1: Getting tickets to Burning Man

I failed for 3 consecutive years. Getting tickets to Burning Man is a ritual on its own and it took me 3 years to realise. I’ll be honest: I wanted to sneak in via shortcuts and the Universe said no. I wanted to abuse my status of an artist from the default world, but that didn’t work. Obviously, at Burning Man, everybody is an artist, and isn’t at the same time. Your participation is your artistic expression and that’s one thing I didn’t get. I thought it’s enough to send few e-mails and wait to be spoonfed tickets. Nope, nope, nope.

It all started by setting my calendar as soon as the dates became public. As many alerts as possible. This time, my determination and mindset were all different. During registration day, I was all anxious. It was one click. One small click a minute after launch, and a big click for me. I felt relieved, but knew the main tension point is coming.

Main sale day was one big test on thinking on my feet. I created a ticketfly account as recommended, cancelled all my plans, and came home from work early. Too early in fact, as I didn’t really pay attention to the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Lucky for me, this gave me an additional hour instead of taking one away.

Fast forward to a time 30 minutes before tickets to Burning Man going on sale.

My personalised link didn’t throw an error this time,  I’m in a queue! Is the sale starting earlier? For people, who supposedly want it more?

After 8 minutes, my queue is over – a countdown starts running instead. A countdown that is, based on my calculations, end exactly 2 minutes after sale launch at 9pm of my time… I’ve heard sad stories of people missing tickets to comic-con by seconds. I was trusting in the system, didn’t dare to reload the page and having faith. The ticketing system could already be down by the horde of Burners and Wannabe Burners, who all want the same: tickets to Burning Man.

9:02 and not a second later: One more queue. I see a white stickman walking in front of a progress bar, that looks like it’s updating itself based on the queue size in front of me. I think it’s a good sign that I’m not getting any “sold out” message. As soon as my stickman is about halfway through, I know it’s going to take about 15 minutes of waiting altogether. I’m sweating. Terribly. What’s going to happen when my stickman reaches its destination?

17 minutes of waiting it took. And I’m prompted to login to Ticketfly. And the login is not working, with facebook throwing nasty exceptions on me. With Ticketfly checkout embedded into the Burning Man web, I soon realise why. I need to use this account, as the email registered needs to match my Burner Profile. A password change is not an option, as I never set one. I cannot delete the account, and disconnecting facebook does not help me either. The last remaining option is “Reset password”. I pray for it to arrive fast, and fast it arrived. It helped, I got through! But…

I have 4 minutes to pay.

Yes, to manage server load, everybody who passes the queue stage gets I guess 10 minutes to pay, or try again. I was typing as fast as possible. The form was not really user friendly, but ultimately, I had it all. I did not care about all the service surcharges and fees. Just please: Let. Me. Buy.

My head is pulsing. My t-shirt is wet from sweat. A green confirmation bar tells me to have fun in Blackrock City. I grab hold of my lady and tell her calmly, that I’m in. I’ve got tickets to Burning Man. I feel the urge to share it with the world. So I do, via facebook, my arch enemy of the past minutes…

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