The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) anticipates 10,000 Burners to come enjoy the Black Rock High Rock Desert in an unofficial Burning Man event. The festival was officially cancelled for 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. The organizers have set up an online platform, and are even releasing a streamable broadway musical about the burn. However, for some, a computer screen just doesn’t quite capture the feeling of a dust-stormed, art-installation fueled festival in the deserts of Northern Nevada.
This Burning Man will not be like the others. Some are calling it the “Free Burn”, and others, the “Renegade Burn”. Some things will stay the same. It will be the same time of year and on the same dry lake bed, affectionately known to burners as the “Playa”. But as this is a non-ticketed event, it will not have the same amenities or safety nets typically provided (No Emergency Medical Services). In addition, the BLM is adding restrictions including no lasers, no fires (besides campfires), and no aircraft touchdown or take-offs.
Bureau of Land Management
The Black Rock High Rock Desert is available for recreation use year-round. For a piece of land under BLM, you can apply for permits to camp for up to 14 days. There is a “leave no trace” policy and the services and amenities will be minimal. Some find this style more enjoyable than the “parking lot campsites” typical of State Parks and National Forests.
Burning Man drew over 80,000 visitors in 2019, with ticket prices can averaging over 1,000 dollars. Around 3,500 individuals came during the 2020 Unofficial Burning Man. On August 20th, 2021, people began arriving to this year’s “non-event”. Although the numbers are expected to climb to over 10,000 people through Labor Day weekend, officials say that may go down to the California wildfires that are choking the area with poor air quality. The Caldor Fire is currently billowing smoke through Burning Man’s main access point, Reno, Nevada.
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