Burning Man Festival Canceled For First Time By Pandemic, But Will Have A Virtual Event

Burning Man participants wait for a dust storm to clear in the Jazz Cafe at the Black Rock Desert during the Burning Man festival on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Brad Horn)

Burning Man organizers announced Friday night that the 2020 festival is canceled because of the pandemic. There will be an online version.

“After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020,” said a statement posted to the Burning Man Project website. “Given the painful reality of COVID-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do. Yes, we are heartbroken. We know you are too. In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever. But public health and the well-being of our participants, staff, and neighbors in Nevada are our highest priorities.”

Burning Man 2020 would have taken place in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7. The organization had already stopped selling tickets, but its first round of sales had already concluded last month, with 4,000 tickets priced at $1,400 sold.

The organization is offering refunds, but also urged those who have already bought their passes to consider the money as a donation to the Burning Man Foundation

The Burning Man Project said it plans to create a Virtual Black Rock City for 2020 in “The Multiverse.”

“That’s the theme for 2020 so we’re going to lean into it,” the statement says. “Who’d have believed it would come true? We look forward to welcoming you to Virtual Black Rock City 2020. We’re not sure how it’s going to come out; it will likely be messy and awkward with mistakes. It will also likely be engaging, connective, and fun.”

Along with the statement, there’s a video message from Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell explaining the decision. Watch it above.

The annual Burning Man is a gathering of artists and tech enthusiasts in the desert, aligning in various camps in a free-spirited festival transforming a stark playa into a community filled with the bizarre and delightful. The event culminates with the burning of a wicker man effigy.
“It was the right thing to do, but it’s still sad,” says Los Angeles-based journalist Susan Karlin, a 10-year burner. “For many attendees, especially veteran burners, Burning Man has become a communion, an annual reunion with friends who have become second families. Its absence this year will also have a devastating effect on the economy of the surrounding small communities that rely on ancillary revenue from the event, not to mention the Burning Man employees who will lose their jobs as a result.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/04/burning-man-canceled-for-first-time-by-pandemic-1202906192/