Securing a hassle-free pass to Burning Man is about as likely as spotting a unicorn in the desert. Wednesday's online sales event was no exception.
The 38,000 available tickets to the annual playa pilgrimage sold out in less than 45 minutes, according to rants in the hippie corners of Twitter, leaving most of the hopeful participants feeling something like this:
Despite long wait times and the occasional browser crash, though, this year's ticketing event ran markedly more smoothly than in the past. Last year, those eager to shell out $380 for a chance at enlightenment endured up to a four hour wait. In 2012, ticket demand so far exceeded the available supply that organizers were forced to drastically rethink their price-tiered "lottery system."
The annual music and arts bacchanal that pops up in a remote stretch of the Nevada desert each August has struggled with scarcity since it sold out for the first time in 2011 -- a far cry from its modest roots on a San Francisco beach in the 1980s. The Bureau of Land Management permits only a set number of attendees on the allotted land (last year a record 68,000 were let in), and for the past several years, the throngs of Burners seeking their slice of paradise have greatly outnumbered the space available.
Those who weren't lucky enough to score their tickets Wednesday, though, shouldn't freak out just yet: Burning Man's secure ticket exchange platform, which connects individuals who no longer need their passes with people still looking, opens within the next few months. Meanwhile, those short on cash are eligible to apply for the low income ticket program, and an "OMG sale" will dispense the remaining 1,000 tickets in early August.
Until then, may visions of fiery art cars, 25-foot steel coyotes and LED merry-go-rounds dance in your head.