Burning Man & The Great Ticket Shortage of 2012

Today, the Burning Man Organization will announce its new policies regarding tickets to this year’s event. Growth, permit concerns and an aging ticket system has taken its toll and has caused, what many burners see as a huge disaster. Many of the amazing and mind-blowing art and projects that makes Burning Man what it is each year are threatened, because theme camps and project teams have received only about 25% of the tickets they need to complete their projects.

There’s a lot of debate out there right now and a lot of people who are devastated. I get it. I’ve only been once and there hasn’t been a day since I got back that I haven’t thought about its effect on me on how I can re-arrange my life to fit Black Rock City into it. Should Burning Man move to a private location? Should we use non-transferable tickets? Many questions remain unanswered. I’m not sure what will or should happen, but I do know that we can all find ourselves back there again. I have hope that this will create a better Black Rock City and that we can all be together again.

It is speculated that later today, they will announce a plan to place the tickets in the hands of those who have the know-how, resources and experience to make Burning Man amazing. I don’t consider myself on of those people, but I still hold hope that I’ll make it back. There’s still Burning Man’s STEP program, which is supposed to help facilitate a secure exchange of tickets at face value amongst burners. I’ve got my fingers crossed. Hopefully, today will be another step towards a better event and you can bet your ass there’s thousands of people holding their breath right now.

Last year, the planets finally aligned and I was privileged enough to make it to the playa. For years, I made excuses or had my head in other places, so I never made the trip. When I finally did, it was everything I hoped. It changed me forever.

Thank you citizens of Black Rock City, from DPW all the way to the Sparkle Ponies. Whatever happens today,  I hope to see you at home and good luck with tickets!


I will never forget the time I spent in the desert with 50,000 of my closest friends sharing ideas, living with wild abandon and being astounded by each other. It shook me up and poured me over some ice.

Every day since, I’ve been trying to hold on to what I learned there. I left some of my prejudice and judgement out there on the playa, gasping for air and I thought I didn’t bring any. I don’t know how long its going to last, but I see things differently. It’s easier to be in the moment and its easier to open up to people. Those were two things I thought I was good at. I know now that I do not know how to give.

I can hardly describe the feelings I had over the course of that week and I won’t even try to. I will say that my heart and my brain are different now and I want to stay this way. I want to hold on to that Its-A-Wonderful-Life feeling that I have right now and I want to carve in stone the truce I’ve made with everyone in the world, good or bad. Its easy to write it all off as some giant desert art party, but it is a very special place on the border between personal freedom and the law where people treat each other with more respect and empathy than I’ve ever seen. People are more real, less diluted.

They say it’s the 4th largest city in Nevada (for a week). They say its the most educated city in the world. I’ve been to a thousand cities and it is impossible to compare Black Rock City to any of them. It’s more a feeling than a place.

Black Rock City is now my favorite city. I had too much fun to take the time and really take careful photos, a mistake I won’t repeat next year. I was perfectly content at the time to just be in such a wonderful place with such amazingly talented and creative people. I was told not to shoot at all, but thats just crazy talk.

I normally shoot digital, but I decided just before we left to shoot film and I wasn’t even really prepared, I just grabbed the stuff I had lying around. I did however acquire an instant camera that I fell in love with.

Now, I’m find myself shopping for toyhaulers, golf carts and scissor-lifts, planning my future around how I’m going to make it back and how I can apply what I learned there to my everyday life. I miss the playa more and more everyday, but one of the lessons of Burning Man is live in the moment, so I’m off to be with my lovely wife. Hopefully, I’ll see you there next year.


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