Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Message from the President of Ignition Northwest, Phill Arensberg, about the selling out of Critical Massive tickets in February 2008 [Critical Massive is in June 2008, read more about it here.]:

Over the past few days, I've talked to a bunch of community members, all of who were in various states of distress regarding the tickets (or now, lack thereof) for Critical Massive. At first, I must admit, I was a little frustrated with folks who seemed to be bitching about not being able to put something off until the last minute. I realized though, after some more conversations with people regarding their reasons for not getting tickets this early (money, logistics, etc.), that these folks had valid and decent points. So, in response to peoples' concerns, I wanted to explain why we are sold out in February and why we can't expand the number of available tickets.

Historically, our greatest challenge with Critical Massive has been finding a reliable location that is amenable to our needs: sound, fire, camping, art, etc. Last year, for example, despite the diligent and unflagging efforts of the production team, we were right down to the wire with finding any space for the event at all. This year's location, Skalitude, is very interested in having a long-term relationship with Critical Massive and the Northwest Burner Community. We have been asked by the owners of the land to cap our population at 500 tickets. Since no previous Critical Massive has ever topped that number, we felt that this was an acceptable limit. We have, with Skalitude, an opportunity to establish Critical Massive as a destination event, a true regional burn that can grow with our needs and our ambitions. Pending a successful event this year, we are ready to enter into a long-term agreement with Skalitude that allows for growth and flexibility, both in dates and population.

This year, however, is our litmus test. We need to show what we can do, and I have no doubt that we will, collectively and individually, step up as we always do. Consistently, when we enter into a relationship with an organization or business, there is always an initial uncertainty on their part. Oh, I know all about Burning Man people! Who are these freaks? Why do they want to have fire here? That music seems awfully loud. And without exception, the end result is always the same: You guys are great. This is nicer than when you started. I would work with you people anytime. Once again we have a chance to walk it like we talk it. The downside is that we're sold out in February. I regret that everyone who wants to go can't. I really do. My only response, and I know it doesn't really make it better, is that the decision to set up the tickets this way was given a great deal of thought and discussion and was reached with the best interests of the community in mind.

If anyone has any questions or comments, I am more than happy to talk with you. Again, I'm very sorry that not everyone can go this year, but I truly believe that this location will serve us, all of us, very well for many years to come.

[If anyone needs Phill's contact information, contact the Ignition Northwest team]