The 2020 edition of Burning Man has been canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus. It’s the first time in Burning Man’s 35-year history in which an event will not take place.
“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,” Burning Man organizers announced in a statement on Friday. “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.”
In lieu of a physical edition of the festival, organizers are planning to take Burning Man online. “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… 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.”
Organizers asked ticket-holders to consider forgoing a refund and instead treat their ticket purchases as charitable donations. “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.”
Burning Man’s 2020 edition was supposed to take place August 30th – September 7th in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. Over 80,000 people were expected to attend.