April 11, 2020 | 1:11am
This years theme for Burning Man is the “American Dream”
Burning Man has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers announced Friday the annual desert art festival scheduled to start Aug. 30 has been called off for the first year since it began in 1986.
“After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020,” organizers posted in a statement on the Burning Man Journal. “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.”
The festival draws roughly 80,000 participants from around the world to the Nevada desert every summer, where a temporary, multi-million-dollar Black Rock City is erected.
Organizers at the Burning Man Project nonprofit said the experience will be replaced with an online alternative, where participants will build a “virtual” Black Rock City — but details on “The Multiverse,” as it’s being called, are unclear.
“We’re not sure how it’s going to come out; it will likely be messy and awkward with mistakes,” the nonprofit said. “It will also likely be engaging, connective, and fun.”
The nonprofit said it will have to undertake “substantial staff layoffs, pay reductions, and other belt-tightening measures” to keep the organization going for the 2021 event.
Most tickets to the event cost $475 in addition to a $140 vehicle pass. Each year, participants spend $50 million in Nevada on top of another $10 million from the Burning Man organization, the nonprofit has estimated.
Organizers are offering refunds, but are asking those who have already purchased tickets to donate the money toward the nonprofit.
“Financial challenges aside, we are optimistic about Burning Man’s future and what The Multiverse will reveal in the year ahead…”