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Steep prices for Burning Man tickets draw complaints

Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.

RENO, Nev. — Tickets for the Burning Man festival in northern Nevada will soon go on sale, and some veteran participants complain the new prices are too steep.

Organizers of the eclectic art and music festival announced Friday that an allotment of 51,000 individual tickets will be available for $380 each.

Tickets opened at $240 last year, with prices steadily rising as the event approached, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported (http://on.rgj.com/UNRPEM).

Of the 58,000 total tickets available this year, 4,000 will be available for $190 to those who qualify for the low-income ticket plan. Another 3,000 tickets have already been sold as part of a holiday promotion.

Organizers scrapped last year's contentious ticket lottery system and now will offer tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.

Christina Allen, who has attended the festival nine times since 2001, said she paid $125 for her first ticket. She said the new $380 price is out of her range, and she'll apply for a low-income ticket or wait to see if she can purchase a ticket from a friend for a lower price this summer.

The festival is held the week leading up to Labor Day on the Black Rock Desert, about 110 miles north of Reno.

"I paid $360 last year, and I thought that was high, but $380 isn't that much higher," Allen told the Gazette-Journal. "But I am at a different point in my life. I would say $380 is a little steep."

While "Burner" Jen Medrano still plans to attend this year's festival, she thinks the new ticket price is a "little expensive."

"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," Medrano said. "Most of those people are artists, performers that don't have a huge income."

The new $190 price for low-income tickets is up from $160 last year.

According to Burning Man's website, the festival's ticket plan is well under the price of similar events, "particularly given the fact that Black Rock City is a fully-functioning metropolis for nearly 60,000 people constructed in the middle of the remote desert."

Beginning Jan. 30, a total of 10,000 tickets will go on sale at $380 for "critical theme camp, art installation and mutant vehicle crews," organizers said.

For the same price, another 40,000 individual tickets will go on sale Feb. 13, while another 1,000 "last-chance" tickets will be available the first week of August.

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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