With the Main Sale coming up quickly, I wanted to take a little time to share with you some tips and advice that will help you be successful. I've been participating in the event for more than a decade, a moderator on the board for nearly that long, and admin since 2011. Aside from my own ticket-buying experiences, I've seen thousands of others and also helped with a number of ticket sales. Getting tickets can be tough, but it's heartbreaking to see people miss out on tickets because they missed out on something simple.
First and foremost, the information below is my own personal advice, and not an official Burning Man announcement. The good people at Burning Man HQ were kind enough to give me permission to post this as an announcement, but they wanted me to make it clear that I'm not posting in any kind of official capacity. Be radically self reliant!!! Take the time to read the official ticket info on the ticketing page, check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the ticketing support site, and then read through the tips & advice below.
Since banks can take a few days to transfer money from one account to another, start by making sure all your financial ducks are in a row.
- MasterCard and Visa are the only forms of payment that are accepted (just like last year). Check your accounts now to make sure you have funds available. Send in a payment, or do whatever's necessary to make sure that the card in your name is ready to go in time for the sale on the 18th.
- Yes, you can use a MC or V debit card. Just make sure that a) you have more than enough in the account to cover the purchase, and b) you are aware of your card's daily spending limit. Most debit cards have a lower daily spending limit than regular credit cards - if your card's limit is less than what your order total might be, get in touch with your bank's customer service department (numbers are usually on the back of the card) and let them know about your planned purchase. They can usually make notes in their system so that you'll get an exception approval, and you won't get the dreaded 'purchase declined' error message.
- If you do not have a MasterCard or Visa or debit card that supports those systems, don't worry. You can get a pre-paid MC or Visa debit card from thousands of locations. Most check cashing or payday loan places have been offering these for years, and more recently a number of pharmacy chains and even some grocery stores have started offering these services. Basically, you take your money to one of these places, and for a small fee they will load it up onto a pre-paid MasterCard or Visa card. Once you get that card, you will want to call the customer service number on the back of it and make sure that the card has your name on it.
- Don't screw up by forgetting the entertainment tax, fees and shipping! Fees are $7 per ticket or vehicle pass, and info about delivery methods and costs can be found here. International shipping info is available here.
- You can pre-register from Wednesday March 16th at Noon PDT to Friday March 18th at Noon PDT. Do you live in another time zone? Use this calculator.
- You must have a COMPLETE Burner Profile in order to participate in this sale. If you don't already have one, go here and make one now. If you already have one, go log in and make sure that it's complete (a question was changed or added at some point last year, so if you haven't checked it in a while, your profile may not be complete).
- Yes, you must pre-register specifically for this sale! It doesn't matter that you pre-registered last year, or for the pre-sale, or for the directed group sale... you must log into your Burner Profile and click the button to pre-register.
- You will also need a TicketFly account, and your TicketFly account email MUST match your Burner Profile email. You can create one of those on the day of the sale, or you can save time on sale day by going to the TicketFly site and creating an account in advance. If you already have one (from last year, or buying tickets to something else they handled), log into your account and make sure everything's okay (your address is up to date, etc). While you're logged into your account, you can check or uncheck any email lists that you want to receive from them.
- If you sometimes forget passwords on web sites, write your passwords down!
- Check your spam filter! If you have not already done so, check with your email provider to make sure that *@burningman.org and *@ticketfly.com are on your trusted senders list. I see or hear from way too many people who missed an important ticket-related email because of something as simple as a spam filter.... don't let it happen to you.
- Do not forward a copy of the email with your unique code to anybody. Don't give that code to anyone else - it's unique, and can only be used once.
- New The waiting room for the main sale opens at 11:45am PDT. Anyone who enters the sale between 11:45am and 12:05pm PDT will enter the waiting room. At 12:05pm, everyone in the waiting room will be assigned a random number and enter the queue.
- New Those entering the sale at 12:05 and later will be added to the queue after the people in the waiting room, and in the order that they arrive.
The sale begins at 12:05 PDT on Wednesday March 23rd. Do you live in another time zone? Use this calculator.
- Set an alarm in your calendar app of choice. Give yourself enough time to get from wherever you might be at to your computer. Don't miss out on the sale because you lost track of time on the day.
- Silly prep stuff first Go to the bathroom first. If you're at home or in an environment where you can make a little noise, have some music handy. Burn some sage or whatever calming and relaxing thing you like to do. Even when things are going smoothly, the process can be stressful.
- I highly recommend you use a computer. Regardless of how amazing your smartphone or tablet may be, the nature of these devices (small, handheld, battery-powered radio gear) makes them more prone to drop a connection for tiny fractions of a second. That's not a problem when you're surfing the web or buying tickets on days when servers aren't at capacity, but on days when they are that could mean that you lose your place in the queue. It might work, but it might not. Your mileage may vary.
- Avoid logging into your Burner Profile on Ticket Sale Day. Tens of thousands of people are all going to be hitting that site at the same time which will make it run extremely slow, and the truth is that you shouldn't even need to go there.
- New Once 11:45am PDT rolls around, access the sale by clicking the link in the email you receive from Burning Man Tickets. That link will take you directly to the waiting room page on TicketFly's site, enter your unique code for you, and put you in the queue. After 12:05pm, that link will take you directly to the sale queue.
- Do not open up multiple browser windows on your computer to try and access the sale. Your position in the virtual line is determined by the most recent time that the page was loaded. So if you keep popping that page open in multiple browser tabs, you're basically pushing yourself further and further back in line.
- Do not keep refreshing the page. Your position in the virtual line is determined by the most recent time that the page was loaded. So if you keep hitting the refresh button, you're basically pushing yourself further and further back in line.
- Once you get through and are on the order page, double-check your info. Take a deep breath and make sure your name and billing/shipping address are correct. Once you've entered everything, agreed to the terms, and clicked the button to submit your order, you should be good to go within a few seconds.
- Print or screen capture the page with your order confirmation. On a really busy ticket sale day it could take a while for you to get a confirmation email, so don't freak out if it doesn't show up immediately.
I want to close by saying that if you have any additional support questions about the sale, do not post them here. Go check the FAQ, and if you can not find the answer to your question, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately and get your answer directly from the source. They've got a pretty good help desk switchboard system going on, and they ask us to have anyone with additional questions to get in touch with them. Their response times have been pretty good, but do check the FAQ first (to get your question answered faster and potentially save them a bit of work).
I hope that info helps, and good luck to everyone in the sale!