The History of Burning Man Tickets and Entry Fees

Burning Man’s first years at Bakers Beach involved no requests for donations. However, upon moving to Black Rock Desert, the organizers began to try to collect money.

1990: The first year (Zone trip #4).

No donation requested. RSVP requested.

The first year the man came to the playa, 1990, there was no fee.

First “Man” announcement

Zone Trip 4 Announcement

Instruction for the first playa burn

1991

A $15 payment was requested, which would register one for the event, with the fee being sent to Larry Harvey’s home address. A “hat was passed” (Bob Gridley walked around asking for donations) and, according to John Law, several hundred dollars were collected.

1991 Announcement (detail)

Rough Draft, including BM 1991 Announcement

1992

$25; registration requested. (On the playa people were asked to pay $2 per person per day.) Tickets were produced, but we have not been able to locate an image of one. We confirmed with several sources, however, that Larry had been handing out tickets and telling people to sell them for $20 to $25.

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Flyer for the first sound camp. Flyer created by Terbo Ted and DJ Niles.   Note:  Some sources incorrectly identify this advertisement as a ticket; we confirmed with those involved with the flyer, who also had tickets, that they were two different items..

Flyer for the first sound camp. Flyer created by Terbo Ted and DJ Niles. Note: Some sources incorrectly identify this advertisement as a ticket; we confirmed with those involved with the flyer, who also had tickets, that they were two different items..

1993

$25 or $40, depending on how registered; registration required. First year “tickets” were issued - a numbered envelope granting admission.

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1994

$30 (listed as a donation). Registration required. Ticket again issued in the form of the envelope used to send the map and basic playa information.

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1995

$35; ticket issued. The bar code and black dots were meaningless. Included a photograph by Larry Harvey’s brother Stewart (a professional photographer based in Portland).

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1996

$35; ticket issued. Included meaningless “security stamps”. Featured a photograph of the Man taken by William Helsel.

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1997

$65. Ticket issued, including removable ticket stub, with functioning bar code.

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1998

$65 to $100. Ticketing done via TicketWeb.

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1999

$65 to $100

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2000

$95 to 200

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2001

$165 to $200

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2002

$135 to $200

Ticketing by InHouseTicketing.com; first year in the modern format of tickets.

2002 tickets were designed by L.A. graphic artist Mark Matthews, aka SpaceCat

Mark represents the playa as a body of water and depicts an Asian flute player sailing on it in a boat, with the man floating in the distance. He also created a large mural for center camp that year (150 ft).

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2003

$145 to $225. Ticket included holographic features on lettering and center of maze.

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2004

Low income ticket program first introduced.

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2005

$145–$250

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2006

$185–$280

Burning Man 2006: Hope & Fear event ticket designed by Bunnie Reiss

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2007

$195–$280

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2008

$210–$295

Burning Man 2008: American Dream event ticket by Buck Down

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2009

$210–$360

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2010

$210–$360

Burning Man 2010: Metropolis event ticket designed by Arin Fishskin. (More information here)

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2011

$210–$360

Burning Man 2011: Rites of Passage event ticket designed by Android Jones. (More information on the design is found here).

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2012

$240–$420

Burning Man 2012: Fertility 2.0 event ticket designed by Cory & Catska Ench

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2013

$380

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult event ticket designed by Spencer Cathcart

I tried to make the ticket look like a boarding pass to the spaceship that was the pedestal of this years man. It also has a military/war feeling to reflect the Cargo Cult Theme. The details on the ticket that you can't see are all stats, facts and the location of planet earth. Most importantly; there are no rules in graphic design. I broke more than I could count and if you understand Burning Man, you would understand that a consistent group of typefaces, colours, and grids makes no sense. This is far from a corporate design system.

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2014

$380

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2015

$390

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2016

$390

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2017

$425

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2018

$425

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