Dance

Burning Man Ticket Sales Postponed Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty

Burning Man
Debra Reid/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The sun rises behind a wood and neon statue, the center piece of the 2002 annual Burning Man festival north of Gerlach, Nev.

Burning Man has postponed registration for its main ticket sale. Registration was set to open Wednesday (April 1) at 3 p.m. ET, so would-be Burners could register for the main ticket sale, set to happen April 8.

In a statement posted to the Burning Man website on Monday, however, organizers stated that they have not yet set an alternative date for the registration and sale. The first round of Burning Man ticket sales happened last month, with 4,000 tickets priced at $1,400 sold during the March 18 "FOMO" ticket sale; 20,000 tickets priced at $475 each were set to be up for grabs during the main sale.

Monday's statement notes that organizers are exploring "every possible option for offering refunds if the 2020 event is canceled. Our terms and conditions state that tickets are non-refundable 'for any reason,' but we recognize how unusual this situation is, and are sensitive to the financial insecurity many in our community are facing."

For now, Burning Man 2020 is still set to happen in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7. In a statement posted March 20, Burning Man organizers wrote that "one of the biggest questions is whether we’ll be able to build and experience Black Rock City 2020. In the current climate of uncertainty it is simply too soon to tell. There are some indications that the virus may peak in the next couple of months and then begin to subside, while others believe the pandemic could have a much longer timeline. Some large-scale events are being rescheduled from spring until fall. Black Rock City is still five months away, and a lot can happen between now and then. So much is beyond our powers to predict or control."

Read the complete statement regarding the ticket sale postponement below.

Greetings, friends. Last week we shared this official coronavirus update and this related post from our CEO, Marian Goodell. This week, we’re continuing to gather critical information, reach out to our government partners, and seek guidance from experts. As you all know, there’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty right now.

Given that reality, we believe the prudent next step is to postpone our upcoming ticket sale. Registration for the “Main Sale” was scheduled to begin April 1, and the sale was set to take place April 8. Effective today, we are postponing the Main Sale registration and the Main Sale. We are going to gather more information over the coming weeks so that we can make a more informed decision. We have not yet set an alternative date for the registration and sale.

We understand you may have many related questions. We don’t have all of the answers (yet!), but we’re committed to continuing to communicate with you in a transparent and timely manner. One question we know many of you are asking is if Black Rock City 2020 tickets will be refunded in the event of a cancellation.

We are exploring every possible option for offering refunds if the 2020 event is canceled. Our terms and conditions state that tickets are non-refundable “for any reason,” but we recognize how unusual this situation is, and are sensitive to the financial insecurity many in our community are facing. At the same time, building a city in the desert requires year-round planning and preparation; we have dozens of permanent employees who work full-time creating Black Rock City. We also facilitate year-round nonprofit programming including Burners Without Borders, the Regional Network, and Fly Ranch. Issuing refunds would be challenging for our nonprofit, but we are examining all possible scenarios that would enable all of us to weather this storm.

You may also be wondering where your ticket money goes. The vast majority of ticket revenue is spent producing Black Rock City. Some of our largest expenses include staffing, fees paid to the federal, state and local government agencies, heavy equipment rental, and porta-potties (for more details check out this pie chart of expenses). That said, in 2012 the Burning Man Project nonprofit organization was established to make Burning Man experiences and values accessible to more people, in more places, more of the time. We are bringing the inspiration, creativity, inclusion, and yes, some of the funds, from Black Rock City out into the world. For more about Burning Man Project’s nonprofit programs and finances, check out our Annual IRS Form 990, more FAQ’s from previous 990’s, and our Annual Report.

Thank you so much for your patience and support during this time of continuous change. We know the idea of gathering together in Black Rock City late this summer feels like a beacon of hope to many of you (us too!), but we must prioritize our collective well-being and the health of people around the world.

Stay tuned for regular updates – we hope to have more information to share within a few weeks. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some inspiration for staying connected and celebrating Burning Man culture virtually, check out this roundup of stories. And if you’ve initiated or have heard about a great way people are coming together, share it with us here.

Coronavirus