Initially, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell had said in a video message posted on the group’s website on 8 April that “vaccines will be required to come to Burning Man”. In Nevada, where the annual counter-cultural event takes place, the state requires that people have proof of being vaccinated at large gatherings.
Goodell’s statement, however, received backlash from longtime festival goers. In response, last weekend Goodell updated the statement saying she had “misspoken”.
“We are weighing the gravity of what that does,” she said. “And we know that challenges the concept of `radical inclusion.’”
“The question of vaccines and how to basically require them, and even from a logistical standing, frankly – all of that, we’re taking a look at,” she added.
Organisers also said they had not yet decided whether to require or provide testing at the event, but that they hope to reach a decision by the end of this week, and 30 April at the latest.
“At this point, the government agencies involved in collaborating with us have been really super supportive and super helpful. They are not putting up any roadblocks. We are all looking at the resources to have to make it happen and get this done,” Goodell said.
As for whether the event will take place at all in light of the pandemic, Burning Man's website states: “Though we are planning for a return to Black Rock City in 2021, it’s impossible to say right now if the event can happen this year.”
Burning Man was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19, with their website stating, “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.”