If you’ve ever wanted to go to Burning Man, this year’s festival may be your best chance, as this year’s Burning Man will be (mostly) a virtual experience due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While long-time attendees will surely miss the communal vibes of going to Burning Man in person, the free “BCRvr” (Black Rock City VR) social VR experience can hopefully capture some of the magic. BCRvr will host “hundreds of worlds and art installations, performances, and hundreds of hours of events that foster conversation, radical self-expression, and connection” during this year’s “Virtual Burn Week” from August 29 through September 7.
BCRvr is accessed through the AltspaceVR app, so you’ll need to grab that from the AltspaceVR website, the Windows Store, Steam, or the Oculus Store if you want to join in. There’s also a beta version available for Mac.
Note that a VR headset is not required to run AltspaceVR or attend the BCRvr events; you can run the app from your computer using a keyboard and mouse. If you do plan to attend in VR, AltspaceVR supports the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest 1 and Quest 2 headsets, and “Windows Mixed Reality enabled platforms.”
How to attend BCRvr 2021 for free
- Download the AltspaceVR app. Again, a VR headset is optional.
- Run the app and create your AltspaceVR account and avatar.
- RSVP for BCRvr here ahead of the Virtual Burn Week. You will be emailed a code used to access the BRCvr festival menu in AltspaceVR.
- Once the Virtual Burn Week is live, go to the BCRvr hub in AltspaceVR and join using the RSVP code. Once you’re in, you can access all the various events taking place during the festival.
If you run into any issues, check the official BCRvr onboarding guide for troubleshooting tips.
Other ways to join Burning Man 2021
In addition to BCVvr in AltspaceVR, there will also be many other free online activities like workshops, forum discussions, digital art installations, and live streams that don’t require apps or VR headsets. You can check the Burning Man 2021 website for more info.
Burning man isn’t just a collection of digital events this year, though. There are in-person art installations happening all over the world, and some intrepid Burners still plan to visit the physical Block Rock City this year. The official Burning Man has guidelines on visiting Black Rock City to ensure everyone who attends the (unofficial) gathering is safe, respectful, and won’t jeopardize future Burning Man festivals.