RENO, Nev. (AP/CBS SF) — Burning Man organizers announced Tuesday they are canceling this summer’s annual counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The San Francisco-based group posted a video on its website that said there are too many uncertainties to resolve in time to hold the event as scheduled Aug. 26 to Sept. 3 in the Black Rock Desert 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Reno.READ MORE: Farms, Ranches In Southern Santa Clara County Grapple With Worsening Drought
Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell said the “difficult decision” is “based on the best information available to us.”
“We know the need for community has never been stronger. And building community is what Burners do best. We also recognize the pandemic is not over,” she said. “We have decided to focus our energy on building Black Rock City 2022.”
The Reno Gazette Journal first reported the news Tuesday on its website.
The decision was based on a combination of factors, not a single issue, the group said.
“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 statement said.
Last week, festival organizers said they were considering requiring attendees to prove they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 if they move forward with plans to hold this year’s counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert.READ MORE: 5 Boats Burn, 4 Destroyed in the Delta Near Bethel Island
Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell said in a video message posted on the group’s web site on April 8 that “vaccines will be required to come to Burning Man.” She erroneously said at that time that the state of Nevada requires that people have proof of being vaccinated at large gatherings.
She acknowledged last weekend in an updated statement on the group’s web site that she “misspoke.”
Citing a backlash from many long-time attendees at the annual event that draws more than 80,000 people to the Black Rock Desert about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Reno, Goodell clarified that organizers had been formulating their own guidelines on mandatory vaccinations as part of the health and safety plan they must submit to state and county officials.
Goodell said they still intend to host local events around the world in conjunction with the week that typically leads up to Labor Day and culminates with the burning of a large wooden effigy.
“We’re not canceling Burning Man. We’re just not doing Black Rock City,” she said Tuesday. “We are going to celebrate `Burn Week’ on line and off line.”
The gathering, which ignored COVID safety protocols that were in place at the time, was criticized by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and other officials. Supervisor Catherine Stefani urged the city attorney and district attorney to investigate and pursue any potential charges against the party promoters.MORE NEWS: COVID: Service Industry Employers Lament Lack of People Willing to Fill Open Jobs
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