When organizers of the rapidly-growing Burning Man festival announced plans to sell coveted tickets via a lottery system last year, veteran attendees were outraged.
"F*ck everything about this," angry rants on message boards read. One of Burning Man's founding principles is, after all, radical inclusion.
But radical inclusion at an event that can only comfortably accommodate 60,000 individuals proved to be a physical impossibility. Ever since the 25-year-old festival experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity, officials have been desperate to find the ideal solution for granting access.
The reviled lottery system turned out to not be, in fact, ideal. Not only did ticket requests far exceed the supply, but so many passes ended up in the hands of people who didn't actually want to go to Burning Man that folks practically gave them away in the final days leading up to the event. It seemed nearly everyone involved experienced some form of migraine and money loss.
So this year, organizers decided to try something new: Eliminate the lottery and instead sell the majority of the 55,000 tickets at one universal flat rate.
The $380 passes will go on sale mid-February for those who pre-register. In the past, tickets have been priced in a tiered system, and last year's cheapest went for $240.
Those lucky enough to snag one of the 4,000 "low income" slots will only need to pay $190--but they must fill out an application.
Some longtime Burners were miffed by the sharp price increase.
"It's kind of a bummer they are a bit expensive since a lot of Burners with a lower budget count on those lower-tiered tickets," Jen Medrano told the Associated Press. "Most of those people are artists, performers that don't have a huge income."
"Keep classism out of Burning Man," said Matt Moldover to The Huffington Post.
But the new pricing system didn't seem to rouse nearly as many as last year's ordeal. "Some might not be happy with the decisions being made, but I think a lot of people realize the organization is trying their best," Micah Daigle told HuffPost.
"I feel like it might work out okay," added Morgan Fitzgibbons.
And others are just -- forgive us -- a little burned out.
"My strategy is to take a break from Burning Man this year," said Ashley Meyer. "I decided this before ticket prices were released, though."