“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,” organizers announced.
“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.”
With the desert festival canceled, and keeping with the planned theme of “the Multiverse,” organizers will instead stage a Virtual Black City Rock 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 said.
The main on-sale for Burning Man 2020 was postponed in March as the COVID-19 outbreak swept America. However, some festivalgoers purchased early bird tickets; organizers promised to refund those tickets, but encouraged fans to donate to the Burning Man Project in an effort to sustain the festival to ensure it stays operational next year.
“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,” organizers added. “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.”
Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell also addressed the cancelation in a video statement:
Burning Man is the latest high-profile event to cancel its 2020 plans, joining Glastonbury, SXSW and Ultra Music Festival. Other music fests, like Coachella, Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz Fest, have postponed their festivals until the fall with the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic fades by then.