Burning Man is exclusively a free virtual reality event in 2021

SEP 03, 2021

The world-famous desert festival has gone entirely digital this year and is accepting donations.

Burning Man has announced that it will be a virtual reality event in 2021 that will be free to everyone but that will be accepting donations for anyone who wishes to do so.

The VR experience will allow people to wander the landscapes and the art from their own homes.

The decision to turn Burning Man into a virtual reality event this year was due to the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant. This is the second time the event has turned to VR to provide its experience without the in-person attendance. Last year’s VR experience was also due to the pandemic and was created in a surprisingly short amount of time. That said, according to data from the Wall Street Journal, it made it possible for about half a million people to attend. This was more than five times the number of people who attended the last in-person event in 2019.

As was the case last year, this year’s event is completely free to attend. That said, donations are accepted. The official website for the Virtual Burn provides a 360 overview of what the virtual space will be. It can be accessed by way of a standard browser so that people can check out what the event will be all about.

Though this is the second year for a Burning Man virtual reality event, it remains a notable experience change.

For the Burners who are used to heading to the Nevada desert to experience the festival, it may save them the long-distance travel, but it certainly demands a shift in the expectations for what it will be about. The intense weather and out-there experience isn’t expected to be captured by a VR headset, but there will still be a great deal for headset wearers to enjoy.

Virtual reality event - Virtual Burn 2021 Teaser - Burning Man Project

Virtual Burn 2021 has a theme based on decommodification, in addition to self-reliance and free expression. It has been titled “The Great Unknown”, which feels like an appropriate label for this “meantime” in which we are all on somewhat of a hold within the global pandemic, waiting for this phase to conclude and for whatever is on the other side to begin.

The Burning Man virtual reality event will still include the traditional burning of the massive wooden effigy for which the festival was named. The lighting of the effigy will take place in the Nevada desert where it typically would. That said, it will be livestreamed so that VR attendees can still take part in real time.

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