Flooding from storms that swept through the Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert on Saturday left over 70,000 festival-goers stranded in sloppy mud, many of them wearing plastic bags on their feet or going barefoot, and forced them to seek shelter in place after organisers closed vehicular access to the counterculture festival.
Revellers at the festival were advised to stay put and save as much food, water, and other supplies as possible, as the US Bureau of Land Management has announced that vehicular gates will be shut down for the duration of the event, which started on August 27 and was supposed to end on Monday, CBS reported.
The Black Rock City Municipal Airport, a temporary pop-up airport used by festival attendees just for Burning Man every summer, was shut down as of Saturday night, according to the event.
“All event access is currently closed,” the festival said, and no driving was permitted except for emergency vehicles.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that organisers rationed ice sales and stopped vehicle traffic at the festival grounds, leaving portable toilets unserviced. Officials haven’t announced when the entrance will reopen or when celebrants can leave the grounds.
According to the National Weather Service in Reno, the event location, which is located about 110 miles north of Reno, received more than half an inch of rain on Friday.
Burning Man’s website says that there was a chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday night and Sunday, with a quarter-inch of rain predicted for Sunday.
Furthermore, Diplo, a well-known DJ and music producer, posted a video to social media on Saturday afternoon that looked to show comedian Chris Rock among the passengers on a truck departing a festival.
“Just walked 5 miles in the mud out of burning man with chris rock and a fan picked us up,” Diplo wrote.
Another DJ, Spencer Brown, stated on social media on Saturday that there was “absolutely crazy flooding right now, but I, along with my camp, am safe with plenty of water, food, and shelter. Turning off the Starlink to conserve power.”
The Gazette-Journal said that many people plunged into the water, danced, and played beer pong. To avoid having to frequently wade through the muck to get to the temporary toilets, festival-goer Mike Jed and other campers created a bucket toilet.
Jed remarked, If it really turns into a disaster, well, no one is going to have sympathy for us. I mean, it’s Burning Man.”