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BEST BURN EVER? Reason #3


THE LACK OF TICKET SALES AT THE GATE

Many of us had been lulled into thinking that Burning Man
would just keep growing year after year; many of us believed that if we didn’t get round to planning the trip up front, we could always buy tickets for a slightly higher price at the gate. No longer. 2011 will be remembered as the first time in its 25-year history that Burning Man reached an enforceable capacity – 50,000 participants – in advance. In other words, Burning Man sold out.

For my part, and for all the controversy about it, I noticed some positive results. Certainly, the lack of “weekend warriors” – specifically, party animals from Reno, Sacramento (and San Francisco) who come in on Friday to go crazy for 48 hours, bringing bad drugs and a couldn’t care attitude – was no loss to the overall atmosphere. And our own camp, Kidsville, seemed that much calmer and more spacious than ever before, with much less damage to the playa in terms of MOOP (“matter out of place”) and spilled grey water, something we put down to the lack of last-minute, disorganized, unprepared drive-ups who, in their own littering, uncaring, non-gifting way, are just as bad as the frat boys and girls. (It may also have been that the CIty was larger this year, affording more space for all of us.) I got the sense that, having worked to get their tickets on time (or paying through the nose for them for being late), people arrived earlier than usual, and stayed later, which is really the way it should be; this is a week-long event, not a weekend party. No, as far as I could tell – and believe me, there is no such thing as a scientific study at Burning Man – this year’s participants mostly had their shit together. At least when they arrived. And even when it fell apart, which it is bound to at some point, they seemed to have held on to the Guiding Principles. Thanks, good people.

(We’ll discuss how Burning Man is in danger of becoming a ticket scalper’s delight some other day.)

So did the lack of ticket sales at the gate do anything to slow entry and exit? Nope, there were still 50,000 participants, and they still had to navigate the same long stretch of single-lane highway. We still spent four hours at the gate on the Monday we arrived, and almost seven hours dealing with Exodus on Labor Day. Here you can see the vehicles extending back as far as the eye can see (all the way to Black Rock City). Click on thumb nail for full size image.

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