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Burning Man 2020 Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic, Announces Virtual Festival

Satellite image of Burning Man 2012

Photo: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images

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Burning Man 2020 Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic, Announces Virtual Festival

The cancelation marks the first time the festival, which was to celebrate its 34th installment this year, will not be held onsite

GRAMMYs/Apr 11, 2020 - 10:22 pm

Burning Man, the annual weeklong arts, culture, music and community gathering held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, has canceled its 2020 edition due to the growing coronavirus pandemic. Organizers for the event, originally scheduled to take place August 30-September 7, officially announced the festival's cancelation in a post shared on the official Burning Man website Friday (April 10), citing "the painful reality of COVID-19."

The cancelation marks the firs time the festival, which was to celebrate its 34th installment this year, will not be held onsite, according to The New York Times

"After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020," the statement read, referring to the "temporary city" built in the Black Rock Desert that hosts Burning Man each year. "Given the painful reality of COVID-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do. Yes, we are heartbroken. We know you are too. In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever. But public health and the well-being of our participants, staff, and neighbors in Nevada are our highest priorities."

Read: Recording Academy And MusiCares Establish COVID-19 Relief Fund

In place of a physical event this year, the festival will instead launch Virtual Black Rock City 2020, a "virtual metropolis" serving as an online version of Burning Man to be hosted in what organizers are calling "the Multiverse," which is the festival's theme this year; an interactive form for the virtual festival is currently live and collecting information and suggestions from attendees interested in the online event.

"We look forward to welcoming you to Virtual Black Rock City 2020," the statement read. "We're not sure how it's going to come out; it will likely be messy and awkward with mistakes. It will also likely be engaging, connective, and fun."

In addition to the statement, Marian Goodell, CEO of the Burning Man Project, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization overseeing the event, shared a video message explaining the event's cancelation.

"I am not here to tell you we are canceling Burning Man," she said in the video. "No. Burning Man is a culture, it's a movement. We are not defined by one aspect of Burning Man. We are defined by what we bring to Burning Man … I am here to tell that we will not be collaborating on Black Rock City in the desert this summer."

Festival organizers are working on providing refunds to those who purchased tickets. However, they are also encouraging current ticket-holders to donate all or a portion of the ticket price to the Burning Man Project, the event's parent nonprofit organization. As well, the organization noted it will "require substantial staff layoffs, pay reductions, and other belt-tightening measures" to ensure it "stays operational into next year's event season."  

"We're committed to providing refunds to those who need them, but we're also committed to keeping Burning Man culture alive and thriving, and to ensuring our organization stays operational into next year's event season — which will require substantial staff layoffs, pay reductions, and other belt-tightening measures," the statement reads. "Burning Man Project's survival is going to depend on ingenuity and generosity. Luckily, our community is rich in both.

Whether you have already purchased a ticket, have been waiting for the Main Sale, or are simply supportive of our vision and mission — if you have the means, it is our sincerest hope that you will consider donating all or a portion of your ticket value, and/or making a tax-deductible donation to Burning Man Project. This is going to be a tough year for us, as we know it will be for you, but we will get through it together."

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After selling a first round of tickets in March, Burning Man postponed registration and the on-sale date for its main ticket sale last month (March 30), according to Billboard. In a post announcing the sale postponement, festival organizers addressed the possibility of canceling the 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We are exploring every possible option for offering refunds if the 2020 event is canceled," the statement read. "Our terms and conditions state that tickets are non-refundable 'for any reason,' but we recognize how unusual this situation is, and are sensitive to the financial insecurity many in our community are facing. At the same time, building a city in the desert requires year-round planning and preparation; we have dozens of permanent employees who work full-time creating Black Rock City. We also facilitate year-round nonprofit programming including Burners Without Borders, the Regional Network, and Fly Ranch. Issuing refunds would be challenging for our nonprofit, but we are examining all possible scenarios that would enable all of us to weather this storm." 

Last month, festival organizers shared multiple coronavirus-related updates, including posts on March 18 and March 20 that indicated the 2020 event would proceed as planned. "We believe the responsible course is to proceed with caution and not make a premature decision one way or the other. For now, we are going to continue to thoughtfully and mindfully prepare for Black Rock City 2020," one of the posts read.

Burning Man is the latest event to be canceled or postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival, Governors Ball, Glastonbury, Isle Of Wight, Download, All Points East, Lovebox and Parklife, Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest, BottleRock Napa Valley, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Coachella and Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival, SXSW, Lollapalooza Argentina, Something In The Water, Treefort Music Fest, Afro Nation Puerto Rico, Brussels' Listen! Festival, Record Store Day and several other major events and festivals around the world were called off or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund Surpasses $10M Raised To Help Music People Severely Impacted By Coronavirus Crisis

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.