Once upon a time, a man named Philip Rosedale went to Burning Man…and the rest is history. Some say that it was Philip’s experience at Burning Man which inspired him to create the still-thriving virtual world of Second Life. And so it seems very fitting that, as the real-life Burning Man festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we gather in Second Life for a virtual Burning Man festival.
Burn2 2021 opens its gates at 17:00 SLT on Friday, October 8th, 2021 and will run through until Sunday, October 17th, 2021. Possibly as a result of the 2020 event proving so popular amongst Burning Man veterans – that event went virtual due to the pandemic – this year’s Burn2 Octoburn is taking place over a total of 12 regions, double the usual number. Thus, there are more camps, more builds and more things to see and do.
The theme for this year’s event is The Great Unknown, once again matching the core theme of Burning Man, and the organisers of that event describe the theme in these terms:
THIS YEAR’S BURNING MAN THEME IS AN INVITATION TO EMERGE FROM OUR COLLECTIVE ISOLATION, TO EXPLORE THE UNFAMILIAR CONTOURS OF A CHANGED WORLD, AND TO REIMAGINE OURSELVES, OUR COMMUNITY, AND OUR CULTURE IN WAYS THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE BEFORE THIS PERIOD OF PLAGUE AND PAUSE. AFTER A LONG YEAR ADRIFT IN THE MULTIVERSE, BESET BY ANGST AND UNCERTAINTY, IT’S TIME TO CLIMB UP OUT OF OUR ESCAPE PODS AND LOOK OUTSIDE TO SEE WHERE WE’VE LANDED. ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN, LIKE NOAH? AT THE BOTTOM OF A RABBIT HOLE, LIKE ALICE? OR ARE WE ON A VAST AND ENDLESS PLAIN, RINGED BY ANCIENT MOUNTAINS, THE SORT OF UNFATHOMABLE TERRITORY THAT ONCE CAUSED MAPMAKERS TO THROW UP THEIR HANDS AND WRITE “HERE BE DRAGONS” AT THE MARGINS OF THE KNOWN WORLD?
The official BURN2 website offers a bit of background on the virtual festival:
BURN2 is the first sanctioned Burning Man regional in the virtual world. Burning Man has always had a presence in Second Life since its beginning, and BURN2 is the latest incarnation of Burning Man presence there. Today, BURN2 occupies a region in Second Life year-round called Deep Hole, with extra regions added to their virtual space during special events. It is run by a group that includes people involved directly with Burning Man, along with seasoned Second Life programmers and digital artists with a genuine interest in Burning Man.
The BURN2 community is a mix of those who attend real-life Burning Man as well as people from all over the world who may never have the opportunity to visit the real playa, but share a genuine interest in Burning Man. For many, BURN2 is their Burning Man experience. Together, we celebrate Burning Man culture in the unique environment of Second Life.
BURN2 has many of the elements of the Burning Man event, including being set in a desert playa virtual environment, and the opportunity to create your own environment. BURN2 has many of the same organized groups such as Lamplighters, Fire Dancers, Rangers, a DMV complete with crazy art cars to drive around, and many talented artists who build and share their art with the community each year.
You are encouraged to explore the dozen sims of BURN2 on foot, via bicycle (free ones are available at the entrance), or using one of the many crazy free vehicles you can find scattered around. There’s even a hot air balloon to take you high over the playa!
At the end of the BURN2 festival, the burning of The Man and the Temple will take place at 12:00 noon Second Life Time/Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, October 16th, and Sunday October 17th, 2021 respectively.
For more information about BURN2, please visit their website or subscribe to their RSS newsfeed (and if you are complete and utter newbie to Second Life and BURN2, start here for step-by-step instructions on how you can participate). Here’s the listing of all the events taking place, and an event calendar. You can also follow BURN2 on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. See you on the playa!
P.S. There is a large selection of free gifts from various creators located immediately in front of the entrance to BURN2.