Burning Man starts this week. If you’re not familiar with the festival, it’s an event where 60,000 people gather together in the desert for a week. It’s sort of a social experiment involving self-expression, creativity, participation and community building. Also it’s a great exercise in being tidy, as it’s a leave no trace festival.
Apart from the official ice and coffee stand, no commerce is allowed. Nothing is for sale. No events are organized. People exercise self-reliance and self-organize. It’s a gifting community where you share what you have and take only what you need.
Last year was the first time where tickets sold out, albeit only close to the event. Due to that, the Burning Man organization chose to create a lottery system to manage this year’s sale of the first batch of tickets. Ironically, this perception of scarcity may have generated far more demand than normal. 120,000 people entered the lottery to purchase tickets, twice as many as available total capacity. I suspect many were people just trying to increase their chances of winning, as there are now a few tickets back in circulation.
The Burning Man organization seems to have handled the crisis well, by distributing the remainder 10,000 tickets to established camps, to ensure some continuity.
I entered the lottery as well (once) and was lucky to get a ticket. So I’ll be participating for my second time. My first time was in 2010. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this year….