AFTERBURN REPORT 2006
Ticket Team enjoyed successes and faced challenges in 2006 such as continued successes with walk-in ticket outlets and the Low Income and Scholarship ticket programs, and the unique set of technology challenges that beset the ticket sale launch of January 2006.
It is inevitable that each year the Ticket Team and ticket process will be faced with a unique set of challenges, and 2006 was no exception. In 2006 we unfortunately experienced several technology-related problems with the launch of ticket sales in January. It was a difficult, and at times unpleasant, experience for all involved – buyers were understandably upset (and not afraid to let us know), and the Ticket Team was upset that the smooth launch we had worked and planned for didn't happen as we'd hoped. As a result, the Ticket Team banded together to resolve the problems as quickly as possible, and through a massive group effort and huge test of patience were able to improve the situation.
The Ticketing Team does everything in its power to ensure that everyone is able to get tickets to the much-loved Burning Man event. It is as disappointing for Ticket Team as it is for participants when things do not go as planned and buyers are left frustrated. Above all else, the multitudes of participants eager to get their tickets online the moment they go on sale is a testament to the passion, organization, and preparedness of the Burning Man community! This enthusiastic masse, while expecting things to go smoothly, ultimately adds to the challenge of meeting the needs of thousands of people who as a result of their preparation and readiness are anxious to have access to the lowest price level tickets. Our biggest hurdle by far is meeting the needs of buyers and doing it in a way that works for everyone. Because of the difficult experience in 2006 the entire team has done a lot of work in preparation for the 2007 ticket launch. These changes and improvements should address the concerns that came out of last year, fix what didn't work, and hopefully make the ticket buying process painless and easier for all.
Thankfully, not everything about the ticket process is a challenge. We were lucky enough to have all of our wonderful walk-in Ticket Outlets back again in 2006, which made for a great ticket season! Outlets have really become a big part of the Burning Man community, providing an important face-to-face interaction, not just with outlet staff, but also with other participants buying tickets. It's so cool to hear some of the connections that are made while people are filling out their ticket registration forms! Once again for the final two weeks of ticket sales we had a Burning Man staff in store selling tickets in our busiest outlet, which helped to relieve pressure on the outlet. In order to encourage participants to buy their tickets earlier (and not slam the outlets at the very end), we instituted a slight price increase on tickets for the final 10 days of sales - and it worked like a dream. On the whole buyers came prepared with appropriate forms of payment, big smiles on their faces, eager to get a shiny ticket in their hands. We were incredibly appreciative of buyers who, in addition to purchasing a ticket, also chose to give an additional contribution to the Black Rock Arts Foundation. Even on the last day of sales, with tickets at the highest price level, there were kind-hearted buyers who opted to give more, simply because they could! Total optional contributions to the Black Rock Arts Foundation in 2006 were $32,189.50. As always, while looking forward to the 2007 event, participants can help alleviate the pressure put upon our outlets by planning ahead and purchasing tickets earlier in the year.
We saw another successful year in 2006 thanks in part to the Low Income and Scholarship Ticket Programs. These programs allow participants who otherwise would not have been able, due to financial constraints, attend the event. Many of the applicants were first timers who heard about the event years ago and have been trying to get their proverbial "ducks in a row" to be able to get out to the event. It is not a requirement to be part of a large theme camp or art project to receive either of these discounted tickets, but many of the applicants already had wonderfully creative ideas of how they were going to interact with and participate in Burning Man. Reading applications from the diverse population is so much fun and it also gives Ticket Team great hope for the future to read how tuned in people are to the Burning Man ethos. Additionally we express gratitude to those who purchase higher-level tickets so that the Low Income and Scholarship ticket programs can continue.
All in all, we had a successful ticket season with an admittedly bumpy start. As with all experiences in life, we learned a lot and plan to apply those lessons to the future.
Bex Workman, Frog Gilmore and Rebecca Throne