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Burning Man 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus

An alternative virtual event will be held in its place

Burning Man 2020 has officially been cancelled. 

After weeks of deliberation and uncertainty, which culminated in the postponement of the annual gathering’s main ticket sale earlier this month, the announcement was made on 10th April that Burning Man 2020 would not be going ahead due to ongoing concerns related 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 reads. “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 festival, which each year takes place in the temporary Black Rock City in the Nevada desert, was scheduled to take place from Sunday 30th August to Monday 7th September. 

An alternative, virtual event has been announced in the festival’s place, with the statement revealing that Burning Man would be tapping further into this year’s “Multiverse” theme than intended. “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.”

Burning Man’s statement also gives further details on the update to its strict no-refund policy, clarifying that those who had already bought tickets through the Directed Group Sale would be able to get their money back. However, the statement emphasises the financial hit the organisation will take from the cancellation, and appeals to ticketholders to donate at least a portion of the cost to The Burning Man Project, if they can afford to do so.

“We’re committed to providing refunds to those who need them,” the statement reads. “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.”

As well as the official statement, which you can read in full here, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell has also shared a video message on YouTube explaining the decision to cancel. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen innumerable festivals cancelled or postponed, and countless clubs closed indefinitely, DJ Mag are asking our readers — if they can — to support venues and other nightlife causes that are under threat. We have curated a support directory here, demonstrating the ways you can help.