Burning Man will take place beneath a "Truman Show-esque dome" later this year.
The infamous Nevada festival is one of many events looking to return in 2021 and organisers say that a dome covering Burning Man is the only way to ensure it goes ahead safely and successfully.
While some festivals have turned to rapid testing and others are carefully studying the science of coronavirus transmission, the team at Burning Man has gone one step further by taking out a patent on a perspex dome that will cover the entire festival site to make sure no erroneous germs can enter its boundary.
"Health and safety is something we take incredibly seriously," Burning Man's Chief Science Officer Nicholas Riviera said. "Housing the festival inside a dome will ensure no dangerous particles can enter Burning Man and it will mean our family can congregate and celebrate life on this precious earth in peace and harmony, as the founders of the Burn intended."
Revellers will of course have to take covid tests 48 hours before entering the festival site and will also have to take a rapid test at the door of the event itself. Masks are mandatory, but organisers have set a "costume code" to combine Burning Man's tradition of encouraging people to dress outlandishly with safety precautions required of every live event in 2021.
"We've worked tirelessly to develop the Kingdome," says Burning Man's Head Of Innovation Christine Chapel, referring to the structure's official title. "It's imperative that we bring Burning Man back for 2021 – it's the most important festival in the world. We're going to achieve what Glastonbury and Coachella have both failed to do."
The dome will be made from Burntex, a breathable, transparent material that allows air to move out but not in. The material has been developed with Burning Man's iconic burning-of-the-man ceremony in mind, allowing smoke from the smouldering structure to escape the dome safely without asphyxiating attendees.
Revellers will also be kept free of respiratory problems thanks to air conditioning units, ice canons and pure air stations which will be provided by Google, which became an official backer of the festival in 2019.
Organisers hope that the world-first festival dome will go on to be used by other beleaguered events as well as by charitable organisations. Burning Man will provide use of the patent and dome for free which is inline with the festival's mission statement.
"It is a little Truman Show-esque," said Christine Chapel. "But in 2021 nothing comes as a surprise and we might as well be living in a simulation by this point. At least this will allow us to enter the 'new normal' in safety."
Asked whether Burners would reach "the end" of the dome, Chapel said stewards would be placed around its perimeter as to stop revellers "breaking the illusion" of the full festival experience.
Burning Man hopes to welcome upwards of 60,000 people this year. The festival is due to take place in August.