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73,000 at Burning Man told to shelter, conserve food amid muddy mayhem

Access in and out of the Nevada desert is closed as muddy roads are deemed undrivable and festivalgoers are confined to their camps.
73,000 at Burning Man told to shelter, conserve food amid muddy mayhem
Posted at 3:02 PM, Sep 02, 2023

More than 73,000 attendees at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, are confined to their camps after storms turned the event grounds into an undrivable, muddy mess.

Festival-goers were asked to shelter in place and conserve food and water amid the poor conditions. Travelers were told Black Rock City is closed and that anyone heading to the playa will be turned away.

"The gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed. Ingress and egress are halted until further notice. No driving is permitted except emergency vehicles. If you are in BRC, conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space," a Burning Man Traffic account posted on X.

The account on X and a Burning Man radio station known as BMIR have been providing timely updates. But cell phone service is basically nonexistent in the remote area, and few have access to satellite internet for updates, according to USA Today

Tens of thousands of burners gather for the event every year to create a "temporary metropolis" in the Nevada desert. The Burning Man organization describes it as "a global ecosystem of artists, makers, and community organizers who co-create art, events, and local initiatives around the world." 

The event is filled with erotic art, a bike parade and nudity, among other things. 

Videos circulating on social media show the mushy, sticky campgrounds. 

TikToker and attendee Marshall Mosher said it was "the rainiest day at Burning Man that I've ever seen in four years." 

Another TikTok user, Ivory Ring Lord, showed a video of festivalgoers wearing trash bags over their legs to protect their shoes. "This is known as 'playa trash bag fashion' for the rain," the user says in the video. 

The storms came in Friday just as activities were peaking, and shut down large-scale events.

The festival is set to conclude Monday in a mass departure known as "Exodus."

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