Burning Man

2020 Burning Man Festival to Go Virtual Due to Coronavirus

More than 70,000 people were expected to flood the Nevada desert for the event

Ron Lewis/AP

Burning Man, the music festival that takes over the Nevada desert every summer, has been canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Friday night.

Instead of setting up its venue in the Black Rock desert, the festival will instead take place virtually.

"In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever," the statement read. "But public health and the well-being of our participants, staff, and neighbors in Nevada are our highest priorities."

Nevada has more than 2,600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and over 100 deaths, according to a John Hopkins University tally.

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Details about the virtual event are still being ironed out, including whether participants will need to purchase a ticket.

Although the statement acknowledged the online event would likely be "messy and awkward with mistakes," the organizers encouraged people to hold onto their tickets and make a tax-deductible donation to the Burning Man Project.

The organization said that with the cancellation, it expects substantial staff layoffs and pay cuts will be needed to ensure it can remain operational until the 2021 festival season.

The group added it was committed to providing refunds to those who need them. Ticketholders can request a refund through their profile on the site.

Tickets for the event, which first started in 1986 on a San Francisco beach, cost nearly $500.

More than 70,000 people flood Burning Man's Black Rock City venue, according to a festival census.

The original festival was set to run from Aug. 30 through Sept. 7.

"This is going to be a tough year for us, as we know it will be for you, but we will get through it together," the statement read.

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