Burning Man Cancels 2020 Event, Announces 'Virtual Black Rock City'

Burning Man festival
John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images

Atmosphere at the 2003 Burning Man festival in Blackrock City, Nevada. 

Burning Man organizers announced Friday night (April 10) that they will not move forward with the 2020 event, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020," the statement, posted to the Burning Man Project website, reads in part. "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."

The 2020 event was set to take place in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7. On April 1, Burning Man postponed registration for its main ticket sale, pointing to a possible date change or cancellation. The first round of Burning Man ticket sales happened last month, with 4,000 tickets priced at $1,400 sold during the March 18 "FOMO" ticket sale; 20,000 tickets priced at $475 each were set to be up for grabs during the main sale.

While Friday's statement says Burning Man is "committed to providing refunds to those who need them," it also urges Burners who already purchased tickets to consider donating that money back to the cause. "Whether you have already purchased a ticket, have been waiting for the Main Sale, or are simply supportive of our vision and mission — if you have the means, it is our sincerest hope that you will consider donating all or a portion of your ticket value, and/or making a tax-deductible donation to Burning Man Project," the statement says. "This is going to be a tough year for us, as we know it will be for you, but we will get through it together."

The Burning Man Project also announced 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.

 

Burning Man is just one of many events that have fallen victim to the coronavirus crisis; Friday would have marked the first day of Coachella 2020, which has moved its two weekends to October instead. Read the full Burning Man statement and see answers to frequently asked questions at the Burning Man Project website.

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