BURNING Man has officially gone virtual for 2021 — but that hasn’t stopped some diehard fans of the festival from flocking to the Nevada desert.
Local officials estimate as many as 10,000 people will travel to the Black Rock Desert this weekend, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
According to reports from some of the partiers at the unofficial festival, one man is lucky to be alive after being thrown from a dune buggy at high speeds.
“A passenger got ejected. Almost a death, but survived. Be careful out here, be safe,” one person posted, according to a local report.
Another allegedly claimed: “Spoke to a volunteer medical responder who was at the scene last night… They told me the patient was a 70-year-old male driving a customized dune buggy. It rolled over 3+ times.”
Meanwhile, the official Burning Man festival has gone virtual with VR headsets, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Read our Burning Man live blog for the latest news and updates…
FESTIVALGOERS POST PICTURES OF DESERT STRUCTURES
Burning Man’s aim is to encourage “decommodification,” meaning that transactions using money are not allowed.
The festivals also feature plenty of art and music in accordance with this year’s theme of “The Great Unknown.”
ATTENDEES POST PICTURES OF VIRTUAL BURNING MAN GROUNDS
PROGRAMMERS ENTER ‘GLITCH’
Many people encountered a glitch as they tried to enter the virtual festival, but found out later that the developers had intentionally programmed it in.
The idea originally belonged to virtual world programmer Andrew Barrett, who thought it would force attendees to develop “radical self-reliance.”
HOW MUCH DOES BURNING MAN COST?
This year’s virtual Burning Man is free, but donation is requested.
Usual, tickets to the annual festival cost $500.
Due to this year’s festival being virtual, attendees have decided to make their own festival in the Nevada desert.
For this reason, the festival is being referred to as “Free Burn” or “Renegade Burn,” Mixmag reports.
BURNING MAN VIRTUAL FEATURES
Virtual reality company BRCvr is recreating the Burning Man festival grounds for this year.
One of the themes is the festival’s history, meaning the virtual festival grounds will feature Museum of 20 Temples and Museum of the Man, which showcase Burning Man’s past.
The technology will also feature live performances shot in Los Angeles on green screens.
The Bureau of Land Management has added new restrictions to this year’s unofficial festival in the Nevada desert.
Guest cannot build structures, campfires are the only fires allowed, and structures cannot be burnt.
Marian Goodell, CEO of Burning Man told Forbes, “We’re not dissuading people from going. But I don’t think you should try to go if you’re not an experienced Burner. And if you last went in 1996, when we respected the dangers of the desert, and communal effort was key, this is your year.”
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND?
The event could draw an estimated 20,000 people to the Black Rock Desert, despite its cancellation in April.
That compares with a total attendance of 80,000 at the 2019 festival, the year before the Pandemic.
Although many fans of the festival are still going to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert despite the official cancellation, attendees also have the option of going “virtually.”
Attendees are using virtual reality headsets to recreate the experience on screen, including waiting in line and going to port-a-potties, according to the Wall Street Journal.
THIS YEAR’S BURNING MAN ‘UNOFFICIAL’
Although the official Burning Man festival was canceled this year again due to Pandemic precautions, an unofficial version of the festival is taking place.
The event is taking place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, where the Bureau of Land Management says 20,000 people could gather over Labor Day weekend, Daily Mail reports.
SPEED LIMIT AT THE FESTIVAL
The speed limit at the festival is 5mph, as declared by the Bureau of Land Management.
A commercial dune buggy, as posters described the vehicle involved in the accident, would normally not be allowed at the site of the festival.
Reports posted to Facebook indicated that the buggy was driving far over the speed limit when the crash occurred.
Burning Man 2020 was also virtual but faced many technical difficulties.
Colette Crespin, director of Virtual Experiences for Burning Man Project, a nonprofit which organizes the event, said they have had more time to improve the experience.
“We’ve improved on the technology because we’ve had a year and a half,” she told the Journal.
REPORT OF INCIDENT
A user posted in a large Facebook group about the incident that occurred over the weekend at the rogue festival.
They wrote, “Spoke to a volunteer medical responder who was at the scene last night.
“They told me the patient was a 70 year old male driving a customized dune buggy. It rolled over 3+ times (assume at high speed). Suffered shoulder injury and reported pain at C3-4 (spine around neck) area.
“Was able to feel sensations at limbs. Fire services and ambulance was dispatched (I actually saw them from my camp driving in and out). Unsure about current patient condition or medivac situation.”
The speed limit at Burning Man is 5mph.
WHAT IS BURNING MAN?
The Burning Man website describes the festival as such:
“Burning Man is a network of people inspired by the values reflected in the Ten Principles and united in the pursuit of a more creative and connected existence in the world.
“Throughout the year we work to build Black Rock City, home of the largest annual Burning Man gathering, and nurture the distinctive culture emerging from that experience.
“The hub of this global network is the 501(c)(3) non-profit Burning Man Project, headquartered in San Francisco, California.”
VIRTUAL EVENTS LINEUP
The official Burning Man twitter has been updating regularly with virtual event lineups for each day.
IMAGES FROM ROGUE FESTIVAL
Forbes reporter Jim Dobson shared this photo, promising more unique cars at the rogue event this week.
‘NOT A FESTIVAL’
On the Burning Man website, organizers describe the virtual experience as “not a festival.”
They write, “It’s a city wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the experience.”
WHEN DOES BURNING MAN TAKE PLACE?
The virtual Burning Man festival began hosting events on August 22 and goes until September 7.
The main attraction of the festival is the burning of a giant wooden effigy, of which the festival gets its name.
This year, it will take place on September 4 virtually and in person livestreamed at an undisclosed location.
ADULT ONLY ATTRACTIONS
Nudity and sex are common pulls of the attraction.
BRCvr, an online community that helped build the virtual worlds advised, “Though there is no official Orgy Dome, responsible community members can create adult-only events.”
PURPOSE OF BURNING MAN
According to the Wall Street Journal, organizers say the purpose of the festival is “to build a city out of thin air where participants live in a utopian society that follows principles of ‘decommodification,’ or avoiding all money transactions, and ‘radical inclusion.'”
The theme of this year’s installment is “The Great Unknown.”
Virtual Burning Man is taking place this year through virtual reality with attendees using VR headsets to simulate the experience.
REASON FOR CANCELLATION
Speaking about why they decided to cancel the festival, which was set to take place at the end of August, they wrote: “After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020.
“Given the painful reality of COVID-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do.
“Yes, we are heartbroken. We know you are too.
“In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever.
“But public health and the well-being of our participants, staff, and neighbors in Nevada are our highest priorities.”