Tickets to Burning Man can be hard to come by. To prevent scalpers, Burning Man organization has created a system that gets tickets in the hands of real burners. However, this system is a little complex.
My first burn was the last year the festival didn’t sell out. In the 10 burns since then, I’ve watched the ticket system evolve, crash, and evolve some more.
Here’s how to navigate it and get those golden tickets:
First, You Need A Burner Profile
To purchase tickets for Burning Man, you will need to create or update your Burner Profile. This is a free account on the Burning Man ticketing website. You can buy 2 tickets and 1 vehicle pass per profile.
This profile asks your basic contact information and questions about your experience at Burning Man. There is no need to inflate your resumé here, because even if you’ve volunteered on a dozen art projects over the years, it won’t move you to the head of the line to buy tickets.
Register for the Sale
If you’re planning to buy tickets, you’ll need to register in advance. Registration opens a few weeks before each sale (dates listed below) and is done through your Burner Profile information. Once registered, an email from Burning Man should appear in your inbox the day before the sale. If it doesn’t, check your spam. This email will contain a link to purchase tickets, so star/pin that message for the sale.
All sales happen at noon PT on a weekday, so make sure you’ve blocked off that time on your calendar.
Every vehicle driven onto Black Rock Desert needs a vehicle pass. There are roughly 1 vehicle pass for every 3 tickets available, so it’s always a good idea to buy one when you have the option. They cost $150 each, or ~$160 with fees, taxes, and shipping.
This is the first ticket sale of the year.
If you can afford to pay more, your chances of buying in the FOMO sale are far higher than the main sale. There are 3,000 tickets at $1,500 (plus fees and taxes which bring it closer to $1700) and1,000 at $2,750 (I don’t know how much fees are on this ticket, but you can probably afford them).
Registration (via your Burner Profile) for this sale runs from February 1–3, 2023. The sale itself is February 8.
Burning Man’s tickets are sold in a queue system. After you click to buy your tickets, you’ll get to a page with a progress bar. Though it’s stated on the window, it’s worth repeating: Don’t close or refresh that page! Take some mindful breaths or say some affirmations, until that progress bar reaches the end and you can buy those tickets! If they sell out before you can buy, you can still register for the main sale in April.
Note: Besides the higher prices, there’ are’s another drawback to buying in the FOMO sale: you won’t be able to resell your tickets in the STEP ticket exchange.
This sale is only for the crews of theme camps, art installations, mutant vehicles, and infrastructure. About half of all tickets are allocated to this sale (because Burning Man needs to be built!), with a whopping 30,000 tickets and 10,000 vehicle passes available.
These tickets are the same price as the main sale at $575 each, or around $660 with fees, taxes, and shipping. Vehicle passes are $150, a.k.a. $160.
If you’re part of an official camp/ project’s crew, your lead will invite you to the sale. You will still have to register for the sale through your Burner Profile, from February 22–March 8, but you will have guaranteed access to buy 2 tickets and 1 vehicle pass from March 8–10.
Part of the Steward sale allocation will be for R.I.D.E. tickets. “R.I.D.E” stands for Radical Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. These are newly dedicated tickets that Burning Man offers in an effort to become more diverse demographically and artistically. They are for “under-represented art forms, adjacent communities, political diversity, and international inclusion.” If you think you qualify, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the waitlist.
Take a deep breath. This is the big one, with hundreds of thousands of people going online at the same time to get a pair of the 15,000 tickets and one of the 5,000 vehicle passes on sale. It’s only slightly easier than buying Taylor Swift tickets.
Register for the sale through your Burner Profile from April 5–7. Then, on April 12 at 11:55am PDT, check your email from Burning Man and get ready to click your ticket sale link.
Click on that link when the clock strikes noon.
If you’re lucky enough to get through, you will be able to buy 2 tickets at $575 each –which is about $660 with fees & stuff– and 1 vehicle pass at $150, or $160 all up.
The ticket system uses a randomized selection process. So, though it’s essential to be online and ready to buy when ticket sales open, it’s still a bit of a lottery.
The last sale of the year, the OMG Sale is on August 2, which still gives you three weeks to order your LEDs and pack your burning man outfits.
Register between July 26–28 for the opportunity to buy two of the 3000 tickets and one of the 1,500 vehicle passes, priced the same as in the Main & Steward sales. You can only register for the sale if you haven’t bought a ticket in any other Burning Man sale.
Children 12 and under are free with their ticketed guardian(s), but will still need their own print-at-home ticket. These will be available on the ticketing page starting mid-July.
Low Income Tickets
If you can prove you have financial need, you can apply for a reduced rate ticket. This means you’ll have to apply and submit as much financial documentation as you can to demonstrate your financial situation.
Pro Tip: There’s humans, not AI, approving your application, so take some time to craft meaningful responses to the questions. Why do you want to go to Burning Man? What will you gift? How will your serve? What will you create? Express your “why” and you’re more likely to be approved.
Once accepted, you’ll be able to purchase one ticket for yourself. This is non-transferable and must be collected in person at the Box Office.
Apply for a low-income ticket after March 15 on the Ticket Aid Program Page. You have until May 24 at noon PDT to apply, unless they reach max capacity before then. Long story short: get in early.
To be safe, check your email within 24hrs of submitting for your confirmation email so you know they’ve received your application. Then, practice patience: It can take up to 12 weeks to find out if you’ve been granted a ticket.
Other Ways to Buy Tickets
STEP Ticket Exchange
If you didn’t get a ticket in the main sale, don’t worry. Or, if you got a ticket and can no longer go, relax: There’s STEP.
The Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) is a program intended to keep tickets circulating within the community. It is an automated system for face-value tickets directly purchased from Burning Man. It’s a hassle-free buying and returning process that minimizing the risk of scammers, counterfeit tickets, and scalpers.
When the 2023 STEP is active, sign on through your Burner Profile, and click on “Tickets”.
So you didn’t score in any of the online sales nor STEP? Don’t worry. Tickets circulate, especially in the weeks and days leading up to the event. If you have a network of Burners, let them know you are looking for tickets through social media or irl.
If you don’t have that network, you can try Craigslist, ebay, Facebook Marketplace, or Burner groups on social media. However, there is a risk of getting scammed or buying a counterfeit ticket. Just like buying anything from a stranger online, be cautious, use your intuition, and try to find a source you can trust.
And please don’t buy (or sell) scalped tickets. The general rule of thumb with Burning Man tickets is sell & buy them at cost. Scalping goes against what Burning Man stands for (giving and inclusion). You can report overpriced tickets online by emailing email@example.com with links and screenshots, and/or flag the posts on whatever platform you see them on.
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