Burning Man revelers have been forced to walk around the swamped playa barefoot and survive on tins of tuna after a washout saturated the dry ground.
Torrential rains overwhelmed the Nevada desert, turning the dust into clay – meaning that 73,000 revelers are trapped until the landscape dries up. One person died in the ordeal, it was reported on Saturday.
Festivalgoers dealing with the treacherous conditions in Black Rock City have also ditched their shoes that keep getting stuck in the mud – while they desperately conserve their food and water supplies.
The portable toilets on the festival site also aren’t being cleaned or emptied because service trucks cannot reach them – creating ‘foul’ conditions in the playa.
Campers have had their tents and structures breached due to the pouring rain, leaving many people tired, wet, and muddy.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The hedonistic crowds are making the most of the situation by organizing slip-and-slides and enjoying the characteristically psychedelic atmosphere during the extended festivities.
Christine Lee, who attended the festival with her friends, said that they are walking around in the muddy, sinking sand because their shoes keep getting stuck
Yeli Kovalenko, who is at the festival, shared her expectations versus reality after the playa was swamped
It’s not all doom and gloom – with the hedonistic crowds making the most of the situation by organizing slip and slides and partying through the extended festivities
Burning Man is set on the prehistoric Lake Lahontan, which is a dry lakebed – known colloquially as the playa. The ground is made up of an alkaline dust, which normally leaves people coughing with ‘playa lung.’
But with the rain this year, the saturated dust has created an elaborate game of stuck-in-the-mud for scantily-clad music lovers.
One clip, posted by a festivalgoer, showed a jeep half-buried in the sinking clay and mud – completely unable to move after being trapped in the sludge.
Christine Lee, who attended the festival with her friends, said that they are walking around in the sinking sand with their bare feet because their shoes keep getting stuck.
They recorded themselves trawling through the horrendous conditions barefoot on Sunday morning.
Lee also said: ‘We are not allowed out of the playa, the gates are locked. We have enough tuna for a week, so we’re okay. All of our structures have fallen down.’
Burning Man is set on the prehistoric Lake Lahontan, which is a dry lakebed – known colloquially as the playa
The ground is made up of an alkaline dust, which normally leaves people coughing with ‘playa lung’
Revelers have been covering their shoes in plastic bags to avoid getting muddy
One person watching her update wrote: ‘Not the bare feet! That mud is going to give you playa foot!’ While another said: ‘Omg! No! Wear shoes!!! The mud is toxic!!’
Marshall Mosher, who is currently trapped in the sinking mud at Burning Man, said that people are making the most of the situation and organizing slip and slide mud parties.
He said: ‘Even our pretty nice mountain bike won’t even work in the wet playa conditions. I’ve never seen conditions like this.’
Yeli Kovalenko, who is also at the festival, shared her hilarious expectations versus reality after the playa was swamped.
Jenna Roxbury said that only emergency vehicles are allowed to drive in the conditions – and the Burning Man hospital is open and very busy.
She said: ‘They can’t empty the porta potties so they are foul to say the least, but we’ve come up with alternative modes of going to the bathroom.’
One clip, posted by a festivalgoer, showed a jeep half-buried in the sinking clay and mud – completely unable to move after being trapped in the sludge
Layla Molayem – still wearing a sleeping mask on her head – said she braved the trek through the wet conditions to use the bathroom
A Burning Man participant makes their way through the mud in Black Rock City
A Burning Man attendee lies down in the mud and water at the event
Layla Molayem – still wearing a sleeping mask on her head – said she braved the trek through the wet conditions to use the bathroom.
She said: ‘I just used the porta potty, conditions in this post rain are not ideal. The alkaline dust has turned into clay. You just kind of of sink with each step.’
On Saturday night, it was announced that one person had died at Burning Man.
The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office in northern Nevada said the death happened ‘during this rain event’ but gave few other details as to what the cause was, or the person’s identity.
‘As this death is still under investigation, there is no further information available at this time,’ the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Saturday night.
The final weekend of the hedonistic event ground to a halt on Friday night as freezing, mud-caked conditions took over but it even led to celebrities like Chris Rock making a bid to escape the deluge.
‘Do not travel to Black Rock City!.’ Burning Man organizers tweeted, referring to the desert area where the alternative festival takes place
Marshall Mosher, who is currently trapped in the sinking mud at Burning Man, said that people are making the most of the situation and organizing slip and slide mud parties
Shai Peza of Chicago frolics in the mud and water at Burning Man on Saturday
This handout satellite image courtesy of Maxar Technology shows an overview of the annual Burning Man festival underway in Nevada’s Black Rock desert on August 29, 2023 – before rain
Burning Man attendees try to leave the festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada
‘Access to the city is closed for the remainder of the event, and you will be turned around’, organizers said in a statement on social media.
‘Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa,’ they explained.
Thousands of Burning Man attendees trudged in sloppy mud on Saturday – many barefoot or wearing plastic bags on their feet – as flooding from storms swept through the Nevada desert.
About six inches of rain is believed to have fallen on Friday at the festival site, located about 110 miles north of Reno, the National Weather Service in Reno said.
Another three inches of rain is expected from late Saturday into Sunday and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa,’ the U.S. Bureau of Land Management explained.
A stay in place order was made in the early hours of Friday night but some attempted to brave the muddy tracks
Muddy footprints quickly fill with rainwater following the downpours
One person could even be seen with a boat that had been parked up on the site
Revelers have been suffering from hypothermia after unprecedented storms washed out the festival.
Organizers urged festivalgoers already on site to ‘conserve food, water and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space.’
The annual event is being held this year from August 27 to September 4.
Before the festival kicked off last week, Storm Hilary also battered the landscape and wet the ground. But it dried up in time for revelers to arrive.