You can add the annual Burning Man festival to the list of events affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Burning Man officials have revealed that the annual event in the desert has been canceled, but there is a virtual alternative coming.

The retreat into the Nevada desert was scheduled for the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 7, but the on-sale for Burning Man 2020 was halted last month as pandemic measures started being taken across the U.S. Organizers have offered a refund to those who purchased "early bird" tickets. However, it appears as though officials are also attempting to keep the spirit of Burning Man alive in the virtual world this year. Read their full statement below:

After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020. 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.

We are, however, going to build Black Rock City in The Multiverse. That’s the theme for 2020 so we’re going to lean into it. 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.

Some of you who already purchased a ticket for the playa may need that money now more than ever. We’re committed to providing refunds to those who need them, but we’re also committed to keeping Burning Man culture alive and thriving, and to ensuring our organization stays operational into next year’s event season — which will require substantial staff layoffs, pay reductions, and other belt-tightening measures. Burning Man Project’s survival is going to depend on ingenuity and generosity. Luckily, our community is rich in both.

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. 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.

With your support, we will continue investing in key programs like Burners Without Borders, Fly Ranch, the Regional Network, and our Philosophical Center. We will continue with projects already in motion, including grants to artists, BWB micro grants, and deploying educational leadership content. We also have exciting new projects on the horizon, including publishing a book and launching a cultural magazine.

Financial challenges aside, we are optimistic about Burning Man’s future and what The Multiverse will reveal in the year ahead: a chance to explore new ways of connecting and convening online (prepare your playa gear for a virtual Black Rock City — more info below!), deepen our commitment to environmental sustainability, realign our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, and create new and meaningful pathways for the community to connect and collaborate, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Since our earliest days on Baker Beach, we have always been, first and foremost, a community. And we’re a community familiar with being in a state of survival. There were many years when the Black Rock City event almost didn’t happen. We know how to face uncertainty and how to adapt to the changing world around us. We will tackle this challenge the same way humans across the globe are doing right now — by drawing strength and inspiration from one another. We are all Burning Man.

Please watch this important message from Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell, read below for answers to your burning questions (yup, we said it), and explore more of our upcoming Multiverse here.


Burn on,
Your Friends at Burning Man Project

As stated, Burning Man will transition to the Multiverse in 2020, trying to build Black Rock City. "We can still build it together, and be together, and Burn together, only digitally instead of in the dust. On the virtual playa, there are no limits to who can join. So let’s do this together," states an intro message. To get involved, head here.

Meanwhile, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell goes into further detail on the 2020 plans in the video below.

Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell Speaks About 2020 Plans

30 Rock + Metal Documentaries, Movies and Shows to Binge While Self Isolating

More From KMGWFM