The Burning Man Project just announced “We have decided to set our sights on Black Rock City 2022,” which is another way of saying that they are canceling their 2021 event.
It’s been tough to read the tea leaves on whether the Burning Man event would schlep its art cars and flamethrowers out and do a Black Rock City for 2021. Last year’s event, like every other event, was cancelled (they prefer saying it was a “virtual playa”). In recent months this year, the Burning Man Project has given theme camps a “gentle nudge” to start gearing up to have the event in-person, and started publicly contemplating a vaccine requirement, but many large theme camps have been backing out over safety concerns.
The safety concerns have won out. In a 10:20 a.m. announcement Tuesday, the Burning Man Project officially extinguished any hope of a Black Rock City event in the Nevada desert this Labor Day weekend.
The past 14 months have been a turbulent journey of evolution and change for every human on this planet. We have had to...Posted by Burning Man Project on Tuesday, April 27, 2021
“Although here in the United States we may be feeling the weight lifting and the light at the end of the tunnel brightening, we are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have,” the Burning Man announcement says.
“We have decided to set our sights on Black Rock City 2022,” the post continues. “This is not a decision that weighs on just one specific issue; rather, it's a combination of problems that in an ever-changing world resist certainty to move forward.”
In a video announcement, Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell added, “It’s too important to do half-assed. So we’re doubling down on next year.”
Unlike Outside Lands, Burning Man cannot just push the date out a few months and plan to have a normal one. The event as it currently exists is tied to the hip of Labor Day weekend. And while the Bureau of Land Management that operates the Black Rock City maintains that public lands will remain available all year, the event also has to navigate the public health official landscape of the state of Nevada, and Pershing County, NV. And it’s important to consider that the very effective vaccination situation afforded to us in the Bay Area probably does not apply to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, whose land Burners tromp through on their way out to Black Rock City.
And let’s be honest. You know that even if they required vaccination, plenty of crafty and creative anti-vaxx Burners (yes, they exist) would easily just fake counterfeit vaccination cards, and there surely would have been at least some degree of spread.
See you in ‘22.— john curley (@johncurley) April 27, 2021
Good call, Burning Man. pic.twitter.com/ZdhbgdiyDz
So what happens to the people who bought those pricey $2,500 ticket reservations? They will simply apply to 2022 and 2023. You can certainly bet that some will haul some wood out to Ocean Beach like they did last year for an unauthorized mini-Burn. But with dwindling infection rates and a near fully vaccinated society, that shouldn’t pose much of a super spreader risk — knock on wood.
Image: Flames shoot from an "art car" as it drives across the desert during the15th annual Burning Man festival September 2, 2000 in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. Despite high winds, dust storms, and a bit of rain, some 27,000 people camped out on a remote desert playa, or dry lake, for the week-long counter-cultural celebration of art and "radical self-expression." This year's theme was the body. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers)