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After another canceled year in the desert, Burning Man plans for a virtual event

Last month, the organization behind Burning Man announced that the festival/experience would not be returning to the desert of Nevada this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and would instead be attempting a virtual event once again aiming to bring attendees access to a handful of web-based experiences.

Today, the Burning Man org released tickets for its online events taking place between August 22 and September 7.

There have been few illusions for attendees that a virtual event is any substitute for the real thing, but organizers have tried to get creative when it comes to the social web experiences so that attendees can reclaim some of the camaraderie. While the organization won’t be setting up an official presence, some camps have already committed to hosting an unofficial return to the desert.

Last year, TechCrunch profiled the Burning Man org as they struggled to pull together a virtual event that captured the feeling of the in-person experience using virtual reality, mobile apps, and virtual experimental theater.

Most of the creators behind last year’s experience are back this year including a few VR-centric experiences and a handful of live-streaming and Zoom-based apps designed to spice things up a bit. This year’s apps include the VR-based BRCvr, interactive chat platform Build-a-Burn, 3D world Dusty Universe, ‘photo-realistic’ simulation The Infinite Playa, video chat Sparkleverse and livestream platform Burn Week.

This year, the apps have a reserve ticketing system set up for “early bird tickets” and they are all charging different prices based on the experience type. The most aggressive pitch is from Infinite Playa which is offering tickets ranging from a $16 two-hour pass to an $88 unlimited pass. Others are adopting donation-based pricing tiers, while the Burn Week livestream is offering a free stream to all viewers alongside a $29 “extended experience.”