April 7, 2024 • General

Changes to BitF Ticketing 2024

From Arthur, the BitF Ticketing Lead:

Main sale registration is now open, and tickets will be sold on April 21st @ 8PM PDT (Sunday). Prices are being hammered out, but it’ll be a modest increase from last year’s $240 all in price tag. For long standing community members and participants, this may come as a bit of a surprise as usually Main Sale tickets aren’t made available until Directed Tickets have started to go out – so why the change? Don’t worry! Everyone’s getting tickets, and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be easier than ever!

The Calculus

It helps to think back as to why we have the system we do, and I’m fortunate (or masochistic) enough to have been organizing the ticketing system for BitF since 2013. I joined right after Burning Man started selling out, and it just so happened that in 2013 our regional’s demand began to way outstrip how many participants our event could manage. Whether it be a limitation on the site’s size or the volunteer base to support participants, our ability to host all those who wanted to come was consistently limited.

It’s important to note how severe the imbalance was, this wasn’t just a sell out after a couple months, or a few weeks; we were measuring demand that was two to three times our capacity, and sell outs were near instant. For three years, we consistently crashed servers, including some of a promising ticketing startup that had serious infrastructure. We eventually found our footing with a ticket provider that had been experiencing similar issues with their own regional (Quicket with AfrikaBurn), but the transition away from a simple sale was long and painful.

The system we have now is a direct result of this imbalance and is a collection of processes that help reward those who do the planning to contribute and provide volunteer work to make this event successful. The reward for this contribution? Guaranteed access to a ticket.

The last two years though, that calculus has changed, pressure on the main sale has subsided, no more instant sellouts, and ticket availability was exceptionally good last year. We still had a record number of participants show up for BitF, but we didn’t hit our hard cap, and our directed ticketing system saw its first major notable decline in usage.

This year, the calculus has changed even more, the contract with our venue has allowed us to meaningfully increase the capacity over last year, and we have a high degree of confidence that instant sellouts are unlikely to take place.

What’s Changing?

On the easing of ticket demand: It’s a confluence of things, from a much larger venue to a greater choice of festival and regional options to pursue. Mostly good things in my own opinion, but I don’t want to dwell on that too much.

On the ticketing system: Well, we’re not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water just yet, so while the system is changing to meet the new reality, it will be largely familiar to long standing community members.

Main Sale

Our main sale will be first and the Main Sale will still have a registration step. We want to know how many people intend to buy a ticket and how familiar they are with the culture. It’s also a good way to limit “on the day” scalpers.

Once we hit midnight of April 21st, we’ll open up the tickets to the general public, meaning there will be no registration step to acquire a ticket. Everyone is welcome to participate in the main sale.

Directed Tickets

Even though our main sale is the biggest we’ve ever had, we’re hedging our bets by holding back a record number of directed tickets (20% more than last year), in case we’ve underestimated demand.

We’ll monitor main sale demand over the following weeks, and change the allocations according to demand pressure. We’ll do this while also being in touch with theme camps and artists to monitor their ticketing needs.

So, if you’re worried about access to a ticket, perhaps you can’t buy it right away, or want to hedge against a sell out for your team, a great way to guarantee access is to apply early (like, right now) for art placement or theme camp placement

You have to do so by May 5th to be in a guaranteed Directed Ticket pool.

Past Volunteer Sale

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you, as always we’ve set aside a limited number of tickets for past volunteers that are separate from the main sale chaos in case things go to Pete Tong and there’s a sellout in that pool. You’ll be sent a code on main sale day, and have 1 week to participate in the sale. And for those who volunteered more than 19 hours, we’ll have a budget to make sure you get one incase you can’t get one in the main sale.

Ticket Aid

This program is remaining exactly the same.

Ticket Aid Tickets are reserved for participants on a limited income who cannot otherwise afford a regular-priced ticket. An application for Ticket Aid Tickets must be made and approved to be eligible for one of these tickets. If approved, you’ll be guaranteed a Ticket Aid ticket through our direct purchase program. The program is open now, and is open for only two weeks! Apply here.

Last Minute Sale

This will also remain exactly the same, whatever we have left over, will be made available in this sale.

Short FAQ

Why have the main sale before direct ticketing?
Timing this year is one issue, but mostly that directed ticketing is challenging, both to administer and to teams looking to make sure all their companions get access to their assigned tickets. In an ideal world, all those who are participating can just buy a ticket, like a normal event. This reversal is a step in the other direction in which we can hopefully make ticket access easier for most. In the future this might change back, but this year we’re looking to get tickets in people’s hands earlier, and use directed tickets when needed.

I was a past volunteer that had early access to main sale tickets, does this mean I’m losing that?
Not at all. What we’ve done is put aside a special pool of tickets for past volunteers that will be available alongside the main sale. A special code will be sent to you on the day of, and you’ll have 1 week of this exclusive access. And for those who volunteered more than 19 hours, we’ll have a directed ticket budget to make sure you get one incase you can’t get one in the main sale.

I really really want directed tickets, I hate this main sale hoopla, can I still get them?
Well that’s fine by us! Be sure to submit an art/theme camp placement application by May 5th, and mention that you want directed tickets. Please let us know exactly how many you need and be sure to take into account how many people in your camp already have tickets.

Where can I find more information on tickets?
Why I’m glad you asked! Be sure to checkout our ticketing page here: https://burnintheforest.com/event/ticketing/

If you’ve read this far, thank you taking the time to do so and I hope this clarifies any confusion. Our intent here is to make access to tickets as easy and as inclusive as possible and we hope this is a step in the right direction. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected]

Arthur Goldsmith
Ticketing Lead

©2024 Greater Vancouver Interactive Art Society