No Place Like The Playa: Burners Head Out Despite Burning Man Cancellation

Burning Man 2020 may have been canceled because of the pandemic, but there are some people who still didn't want to miss the week in the Black Rock Desert. 

Burning Man draws nearly 80,000 people from around the world, but this year, the vast expanse of the Black Rock Desert has small groups of campers that say there's no place like the playa.

"When you come out to the playa, it's home," said Peter 'Happy Mentor,' who is a seventh and eighth grade English teacher. "I think you could be who you really want to be on the playa."

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said there are currently no restrictions on the number of people allowed on the land. However, BLM is asking that visitors follow the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines and be fire aware. 

Mentor said that a lot of people aren't wearing face coverings at the playa, however he says they wear it when they are in town and around locals.

"We want to keep people in the town healthy and we're trying to abide by the rules and have a good time." said Mentor.

He also said that businesses in the area have been grateful to get business from Black Rock Desert visitors.

For a lot of people Burning Man was a time to disconnect from their lives and discover something new. Even without the fireworks, lights, and Burning Man's rituals of burning The Man, people we spoke with say 2020 at Black Rock Desert is just as good as the actual event.

Mark Debbie said, "It's just like asking somebody, 'hey is one burn better than the next?' The answer is no. It's just another chapter in our book, and this is just the perfect thing to do."

People at the playa also say Burning Man's principle of building a community is always alive at Black Rock Desert.