Citing coronavirus, organizers cancel Burning Man

Burning Man

Revelers from New York at Burning Man 2019. (Josh Engman)

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev. (NEWS10/AP/CNN) — In the latest announcement of a large-scale event delayed into 2021 due to the coronavirus, Burning Man is canceled. The people behind the Burning Man Project announced Friday that they are canceling the annual art event set in a remote desert some 100 miles from Reno, Nevada.

Scheduled for August 30 through September 7, Burning Man festivities for 2020 have been called off due to the coronavirus. Experts advise limiting exposure to other people, even at the grocery store, so the 80,000-strong event with no running water does not represent the epitome of responsible disinfecting habits.

Burning Man is a lifestyle and entertainment gathering that attracts upwards of 80,000 people—including vendors and volunteers—from around the world.

“It’s not a festival. It’s a city.”

Stefania Bedoya, Burning Man participant FROM New York

Attendants insist there’s more to the event than the free expression it is well-known for. Still, Burning Man densely packs thousands of individuals—often wearing masks to protect against dust storms—into an isolated spot in the northern Nevada desert without substantial hygienic or medical facilities.

Event staff and organizers say they’re committed to refunding tickets, but are also asking purchasers to consider foregoing refunds to offset potential layoffs, pay cuts, or other “belt-tightening measures.” They said on Facebook that the cancellation was “in the interest of the health and well-being of our community.”

According to the Burning Man website, a “virtual Black Rock City” will replace the annual gathering.


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