Skip to main content

The organizers of Burning Man have remained hopeful of their ability to provide a 2021 event, announcing a theme earlier this month and issuing a "gentle nudge" to campsite organizers to start planning just last week. 

A post appeared in the Burning Man Project's blog on March 9th, revealing the theme as well as the meaning behind it. Originally titled "Terra Incognita," a Latin phrase which translates to "unknown land," the theme was intended to spark curiosity. Unfortunately, it was later realized that the name had negative connotations that poorly reference the country's colonial history, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

According to the post's author, director of the Philosophical Center of Burning Man Project Stuart Mangrum, the theme's original name was retitled when the team behind the event "learned that the phrase (Terra Incognita) has a colonial history, and it reflected back some of [their] own implicit biases and default perspectives."

The Burning Man Journal

The Burning Man Journal

Recommended Articles


Memorial Benefit Show Planned to Celebrate Life and Legacy of CharlestheFirst

The late artist's mother, Beth Ingalls, recently launched a GoFundMe campaign with the ultimate goal of launching a foundation in her son's name.

EDM_com_cover image

Build a Killer Music Marketing Strategy Using Real-Life Expert Tips In This Webinar

Viberate's upcoming guest panel will host two music marketing veterans.


NERVO Announce 2022 Las Vegas Residency With Zouk Group

The twins will join Zedd, Tiësto and more as residents at Ayu Dayclub and Zouk Nightclub.

While the underlying concepts behind the theme remain the same, the original name has since been retitled to "The Great Unknown." The blog post has been updated to reflect these changes, removing any mention of the previous name.

"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," the post reaffirms.

You can read Mangrum's updated post in full here.




Burning Man 2012

Burning Man Announces 2021 Theme: Terra Incognita

"After a year without Black Rock City we’re all longing to reconnect – for a going home after all that staying home."

Black Rock City

Burning Man Announces 2022 Theme: Waking Dreams

"Because after all what is Black Rock City if not a collective manifestation of the community’s dreams?"

Burning Man Project Question in the dust

Burning Man CEO Provides Detailed Update on Festival's 2021 Edition

No matter the outcome, Marian Goodell says "art needs to happen."

burning man

Burning Man Organizers Backpedal After Criticism for Mandatory Vaccination Comments

CEO Marian Goodell shared a statement noting that mandatory vaccination "challenges the concepts of radical inclusion."

Burning Man

Burning Man Asks for Donations to Ensure 2021 Return

But, will it be enough to save Black Rock City?

burning man

Burning Man 2021 Still In Limbo, Organizers Promise Official Update in February

A Burning Man Project exec said "it’s impossible to say right now if Black Rock City can happen in 2021."


Burning Man 2020 Theme Revealed

2020's Burn will exploring the concept of "Multiverse."