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COVID Canceled Burning Man, But You Can Still Go In VR

Burning Man is typically held in the middle of a desert and virtual reality is making sure people can still attend the festival this year.

The Burning Man festival is being held entirely in virtual reality this year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to be canceled for the second year in a row. The Burning Man festival is normally located in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada and is well known for the very eclectic musical offerings as well as the giant wooden effigy that’s burned each year on the Saturday before Labor Day. The festival’s core tenants include artistic self-expression which is typically demonstrated by the outlandish outfits worn by festival-goers and the out-of-this-world stage sets the artists perform on.

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Virtual reality has become an increasingly common way to experience live events over the past year allowing people to attend without having to leave their homes. However, live events is only one of the ways that virtual reality can be used to transport a person elsewhere. For example, the new ‘Space Explorers Life On The ISS’ allows people to experience what life is like on the International Space Station through virtual reality. The Oculus Store alone is home to dozens of high-quality virtual reality documentary experiences.

Those wanting to attend this year’s Burning Man will need to head over to the Virtual Burn ticket store and select a package. The first option available is SparkleVerse which opens up the option for users to view submitted works of art by Burning Man fans in their browser. Also available is Burn Week Live which is going to be the best option for those wanting to watch the Man Burn and the Temple Burn, create a watch party, and even interact with a virtual campsite where users can broadcast themselves. Also available is the Dusty Multiverse option which provides the option to use 3D avatars to interact with acts and other festival-goers, and live chat.

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How Much Does It Cost To Attend In VR?

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All of the VR experiences are available on a pay-what-you-can donation system, with suggested donations ranging from $0 to $39. Potentially, someone could attend Burning Man for absolutely nothing. However, after a rough year of lockdowns and cancellations the organizers could really use the support in keeping the event alive. For reference, the events can be viewed directly through the Oculus and AltSpace VR platforms, and there is also the option to view the event live on a Mac or PC through the website.It is worth noting that the festival is relying on user submissions for its experiences this year instead of a traditional line-up, with full schedule details available to view on the company’s website. While the VR landscape is unlikely to properly recreate the sounds and feel of an actual festival, virtual reality is providing an option to attend this year’s Burning Man festival in some capacity.

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