Burning Man Nevada Desert 2023 Flood

What’s going on at Burning Man?

What’s going on at Burning Man?

by Eric Brain
3 min

Burning Man is drowning in the middle of the Nevada desert. Somehow (because we all thought they didn’t have Internet access) there are hundreds of TikTok videos circulating the web, showing Burning Man attendees tackling much more than they bargained for. The week-long self-described “temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance,” note, not a festival, already challenges those who attend with creating – and surviving – the temporary Black Rock City. Now, with unprecedented rainfall that was almost manifested by the climate protesters who blocked the single road into the Nevada site, word has it that over 70,000 “Burners” are stranded in the desert. 

The “Burners” have been advised to ration their food and drink supplies. Make sure the electrical wires aren’t submerged in the water-drenched sand. Good luck getting that rented luxury RV out of the mud. Let’s not even go there with the toilet situation, which is currently not being serviced. 

Burning Man was set to end today. Yet over 70,000 “Burners” are still there, giving the world content that’s akin to a Fyre Festival 2.0 scenario. Cast your mind back to the drama of 2017, when Fyre Festival left its attendees stranded in the Bahamas without adequate food or shelter – likewise, the “Burners” are facing harsh weather conditions day-and-night, with trench foot now becoming the topic of conversation amongst TikTokers and reporters. 

Since the storm, the likes of Chris Rock and Diplo have made their escape on foot, walking for five miles before hitching with a fan of the DJ. Those still trying to get into the campsite have been told to turn around and go home. And local reports are suggesting that the weather conditions aren’t easing up any time soon, making it near-impossible for cars to get in or out of Burning Man, bar emergency vehicles. 

The events continue to develop, as it was reported last night that there has been a death at Burning Man. According to the Pershing County Sheriff Office’s statement: “The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a death which occurred during this rain event. The family has been notified and the death is under investigation. As this death is still under investigation, there is no further information available at this time.”

It’s this, coupled with a statement that the organisers posted on X that read, “If you are in BRC, conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space,” that has got the Internet criticising the event.

Burning Man has not been declared as a national emergency, but it doesn’t take away from the fact there’s little the attendees can do.

Despite the situation, reports imply that the campsite morale is still high. “Burners” attend to experience a harsh climate and a temporary mini-city mentality that aims to bring people together – clearly, community is key in what has turned out to be the the muddiest “festival” of the season.

Photo Credit: Burning Man / Jamen Percy

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