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Burning Man signals first August event to cancel over coronavirus

Organizers will instead stage Virtual Black City Rock 2020.

After postponing their ticket sales due to the rapid coronavirus pandemic spread, Burning Man has now decided to cancel their 2020 gathering in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. The ten-day event was scheduled for August 30 through September 7 in the Nevada desert. Now, the event marks the first in August to officially cancel, signaling that the virus could last well into summer and beyond.

“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,” said organizers in the Burning Man Journal.

With the 2020 gathering now officially canceled, the temporary utopian society in Black Rock City will not pop-up in August—at least not in the physical sense. However, organizers intend to keep with their planned theme, “the Multiverse,” in the digital world. To do so, 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.

“Yes, we are heartbroken. We know you are too,” they continue. “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.”

Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell also addressed the cancelation in a video statement. Read the complete written statement here.