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Burning Man Is Canceled for 2021 but They’re Keeping Your $2,500 Reservation Fee

Updated: Apr 30, 2021 12:18
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The Burning Man folks would like to thank you for your generous donation of $2,500 to reserve the right to buy a ticket to an event that is not happening this year.

It’s really not much of a surprise that organizers have chosen not to invite thousands of people to spread their viral love across the playa in 2021. But for those who have yet to accept that Burning Man now is not quite the anti-capital group that Burning Man once was, it may come as a surprise that the group is happy to keep the $2.5 million they raised on “reservation” fees.  

Billed as an “Invitation to the Future” sale, people with a Burner Profile were graced with the opportunity on April 10 to try and nab a maximum of two reservations at the low, low cost of $2,500 each. Only 1,000 reservations were made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Mind you, the reservation only secured the ability to purchase tickets at full cost at two of the next Black Rock City events. Those reservations are “non-refundable and non-transferrable” and don’t include the cost of actual tickets.   

People fortunate enough to be placed on the cool kids reservation list this year will have to wait until 2022 to dish out more money once real tickets become available. In 2019, the eight-day ticket ran $475 with another $140 for a vehicle pass, and some extra fees for good measure. On the 2019 ticketing page, Burning Man organizers put it best themselves:

“That’s more than $600 before you even get gas in your car or buy plane tickets, which we know can put folks in a financial pinch.”   

All for the chance to camp in the desert, do copious amounts of drugs and pretend like money doesn’t matter. In all honesty, it sounds like a damn good time, but let’s not pretend the group hasn’t fallen into the capitalist trap when they’re holding onto $2.5 million people shelled out just for the opportunity to buy a ticket…someday.

Anywho, the Burning Man Project issued a statement Tuesday telling us all what we basically already knew — there will be no formal gathering and burn this summer. 

The statement reads:

“We have decided to set our sights on Black Rock City 2022.

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. 

Humanity is experiencing collective trauma that is unprecedented in recent times, and while for some returning to Black Rock City may feel like “the answer,” there is very real rebuilding and healing that needs to be done before returning full force to the desert. The physical, psychic, and emotional impacts of this pandemic are real and the recovery from this experience will happen at different rates of speed. This is the time to gather with our friends, crews, families and communities. 

We have the time now to imagine what we can bring to Black Rock City 2022 that will really make a difference. What would it look like if Burning Man culture shaped the future? 

How do you want to bring the best of what you have to give to the next gathering in the desert? 

How bold can you go?”

This is from a satire piece we ran a little while ago 🙂

Organizers instead urge people join the Virtual Burning Man between August 21 and September 5 and “connect with Burning Man culture” in their daily lives and with regional communities. There’s nothing at all wrong with helping and connecting with your fellow peeps on a small scale and throwing some love to groups like Burners Without Borders, but it certainly doesn’t require a $2,500 reservation to do so.

Editors note – The folks at Burning Man sent this in as an explainer:

While many have been hit hard financially this past year, others are able to help without sacrificing their own comfort and wellbeing. The Invitation to the Future is a way for those who can to demonstrate their belief in the global cultural importance of Burning Man and Black Rock City – a way to invest in the limitless possibilities of our co-created future.

The Burning Man community has always depended on each individual contributing when and how they are able, trusting in the natural balance of the organism to shift, rise, and compensate as needed. It is on the strength of our beautifully varied backgrounds and lived experiences that the community must now rely more than ever. The Invitation to the Future is an expression of the extraordinary Communal Effort that will be required to continue offering the healing and inspiration of Burning Man to the world.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.