Burning Man 2021 Festival is Canceled as Organizers Look to 2022 for Their Epic Comeback

A photo of people gathering at a 1999 Burning Man Festival.
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There will be a "Virtual Burning Man," (similar to 2020) set to begin on August 21. No fee is required but donations are suggested.

The iconic Burning Man 2021 festival is being canceled due to the global pandemic. Organizers made the official announcement on Tuesday that the event that was slated from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3 in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada will not be happening. It would be the second straight year that they are canceling the event.  

“For 2021, we know the need for community has never been stronger and building community is what burners do best. We also recognize that the pandemic is not over,” Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell said in a video on the Burning Man site and called this past year "a year of evolution and change.”

Goodell thanked followers for their feedback and said it was a difficult decision to make but the best decision based on the information available.

“We’ve decided to focus our energy on Black Rock City 2022. It is too important to do half-assed so we are doubling down for next year,” Goodell said,  assuring fellow burners that next year’s festival will surely be epic.

The annual festival that started 35 years ago where people gather to celebrate community, art, self-expression and identity in the Nevada desert, traditionally Black Rock City, has attracted tens of thousands of people over the decades including musical artists such as Katy Perry and Sean “Diddy” Combs. The climax of the event is when a large wooden symbol of a man is ignited, CNN reported. 

Burning Man had been in talks with state officials since late last year planning a more-than 60,000-person event, according to internal documents obtained by the Reno Gazette Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, in March, USA Today reported.

In the video Goodell added, “We recognize your need to be in community and your desires so we suggest you create community the this moment and gather together this is the time."

That said, until burners get to gather again in-person there will be a "Virtual Burning Man," (similar to 2020) set to begin on August 21. No fee for the online event is required, but donations are encouraged to help organizers make up for the festival's two years of lost revenue, according to CNN.

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