If the name alone wasn’t enough to put you off, Nevada’s Burning Man Festival 2023 has been hit with a series of very unfortunate events – leaving festival-goers stranded in the desert with no food or signal, and some even developing trench foot from the weather conditions.
The festival takes place every year from August 24th to September 4th, although according to the organisers it’s in fact “not a festival! It’s a city wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the experience.”
So what’s caused this nomad festival experience to go completely to ground, with attendees being told by organisers to “conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space”? Well, here’s everything that’s happened at Burning Man 2023.
The festival disaster started with a storm, and not just any storm. The remote area was hit with two to three months’ worth of rain in just 24 hours. When the heavy rain hit the dry desert earth, it created a thick, sticky mud with a clay-like consistency that is very difficult to walk through.
Attendees were told to shelter in place and to conserve food, water and fuel until the storm passes. Unfortunately, that won’t be a possibility until at least today (Monday 4th), according to the Bureau of Land Management, who said that “more rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa.”
The gate and airport into Black Rock City (a city temporarily erected for the festival) are closed, and no driving is allowed into or out of the city.
Organisers have warned attendees about driving out of the grounds, saying in a statement, “It will hamper Exodus if we have cars stuck on roads in our camping areas, or on the Gate Road out of the city. If you are in BRC, please shelter in place & stay safe.”
Comedian Chris Rock and DJ Diplo recounted their adventure out of the event when Diplo posted on social media. “I legit walked the side of the road for hours with my thumb out because I have a show tonight and didn’t want to let ya’ll down.”
With so much mud, people have started getting trench foot, and whilst the festival does provide porta potties, you can probably imagine that visually they’re not looking great. And to top it off because of the flooding nobody can get into the toilets to clean them, I honestly wouldn’t be able to imagine what else I might be trudging through in that mud.
And in case contracting trench foot wasn’t a worry enough, you can also get playa foot, which is unique to the desert where Burning Man takes place. Caused by the alkaline dust it caused CHEMICAL BURNS on your feet. Honestly at this point are we sure Burning Man isn’t just a punishment?
A statement on Saturday evening posted on the organiser’s website said: “Burning Man is a community of people who are prepared to support one another. We have come here knowing this is a place where we bring everything we need to survive. It is because of this that we are all well-prepared for a weather event like this.
“We have confidence in Communal Effort and Civic Responsibility and this is a good moment to drop in with those principles in mind.
“Burning Man Project has been facilitating Black Rock City and Burning Man for over 30 years. We have done tabletop drills for events like this. We are engaged full-time on all aspects of safety and looking ahead to our Exodus as our next priority. Today we met with all of our agency collaborators on the local, county, state, tribal, and federal levels. We are in constant communication with those agencies.”
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