Thousands of partygoers at the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada found themselves stranded due to heavy rain that turned the desert into a muddy mess. The main road leading out of the festival was too muddy for vehicles to safely exit, leaving attendees stuck at the site. Burning Man organizers hoped that traffic could start flowing around noon on Monday.
The festival, which attracts nearly 80,000 artists, musicians, and activists, combines wilderness camping with avant-garde performances. Disruptions are not uncommon, as the festival had to temporarily close entrances in 2018 due to dust storms and was canceled twice during the pandemic.
Despite the challenging conditions, spirits remained high among the attendees. Some even embraced the muddy conditions, posting selfies covered in mud or dancing in the makeshift lakes. However, concerns arose about the lack of toilet options due to the inability of trucks to reach the site and clean the portable toilets.
One death was reported at the festival, but organizers said it was not weather-related. President Joe Biden expressed awareness of the situation and said the White House is in touch with local officials.
The event's remote location and emphasis on self-sufficiency meant that attendees had to bring their own supplies, including food and water. With the closure of the festival to motorized traffic, many had to trudge through the mud on foot. Some managed to walk several miles to the nearest town or catch a ride.
Organizers reassured participants that the festival was built to endure such conditions and advised them to remain calm. Cellphone trailers were dropped in several locations, and shuttle buses were organized to transport attendees to Reno from the nearby town of Gerlach.
Despite the challenges, many attendees remained determined to stay until the end of the festival, which was scheduled to conclude on Monday with attendees packing up and cleaning up after themselves.
Overall, the situation at Burning Man highlighted the resilience of the community in adapting to the unexpected weather conditions.