The final weekend of the high-energy event has ground to a halt as freezing, mud-caked conditions took over, leading all traffic in and out of the site to be halted while officials grapple with how to conclude the festival.
Normally a sun-soaked extravaganza of art and self-expression, Burning Man 2023 has instead been hampered by freezing sleet, dust clouds and swamp-like conditions. Sources told DailyMail.com unexpected issues have seen organizers urge attendees with RVs and large vehicles to offer shelter to tent campers, and have advised people to conserve food and water.
Those not trapped in the grounds haven’t let the storms dampen their mood, however, as local bars have been packed with festivalgoers still hoping to make the most of a bad situation.
Many disgruntled attendees have taken to social media to reveal the aftermath of the torrential storms, showing the Nevada desert transformed into a mud-caked swamp
SHELTERING IN BARS: Some festivalgoers headed to local bars to make the most of their trip after storms ruined the final weekend of Burning Man
Two ocal watering holes in Gerlach, Nevada were packed after heavy storms ground the festival to a halt
Upwards of 100,000 people are believed to have made their way to the Nevada wasteland this year, making it among the most attended in Burning Man’s history, and the event is always among the most hotly anticipated for festivalgoers every summer.
But after the heavens opened on Thursday, torrential storms are thought to have brought the most rainfall that the event has seen since its inception in 1986.
Many attendees have taken to social media to offer a glimpse inside the ruined event, with one sharing a gloomy video of the soaked art installations.
The TikTok saw the festivalgoer pan a camera across a platform holding several soggy scultpures stationed on the mud-caked desert.
In another video, a reveller gave their advice about ‘what to do at Burning Man when its raining.’
While they opted not to join others in local bars, they recommended ‘singing kareoke’ and placing plastic zip-lock bags over your feet and walking ‘as little as possible’ to avoid the grubby grounds.
Despite organizers ordering people not to drive over the mud, a group could be heard yelling in the video at a large black SUV to ‘stop’, after several vehicles have been stuck in the mud in recent days.
The torrential storms are believed to have brought the most rainfall to Burning Man since its inception in 1986, washing out the normally sun-soaked event
The festival was put under a mandatory ‘stay in place order’ after the boggy conditions caused cars to be stuck in the mud and art installations and structures at the event to become sodden
While riding dune buggies and bikes around the Burning Man camp has been a regular sight at the annual bash, organizers have also been forced to ban the practice due to the treacherous conditions.
‘Do not drive your vehicle. Do not ride your bike, do not push your bike around. Remain where you are. Secure structures and belongings in your camp,’ urged one message to Twitter.
‘All scheduled burns for tonight (Friday 9/1) are postponed until further notice. Hunker down, don’t drive, don’t bike, be safe! Shelter in place!’ added another.
The gate remains closed and no one is allowed to enter or leave via the road or airport, Burning Man posted online.
Sources told DailyMail.com that routes in and out of the grounds are set to be operational again by 11am Sunday. This has not been confirmed by Burning Man organizers, who did not immediately repond to a request for comment on the event.
Police and rangers take to higher ground as Burning Man brought to a halt during an unprecedented downpour on Friday, in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada
The Black Rock Desert is experiencing unprecedented downpour during Burning Man 2023
Burning Man organizers instructed those attending to shelter in place, not operate generators or other electrically powered instruments that are standing in water and cover anything electrical.
‘In the case of rain, do not drive your vehicle or ride your bike. Remain where you are. Batten down your camp. Cover or secure anything electrical. Check on your campmates and neighbors to make sure they’re prepared, and help out as needed,’ stated another message as the weather turned nasty.
Driving was not permitted in Black Rock City with the atrocious weather threatening to turn the desert floor into a muddy paste.
About one- to two-tenths of an inch of rain is expected which although may not seem like much, even a small amount of rain can cause problems in the Black Rock Desert which is usually bone dry.
The rain made the ground extremely slippery, with sticky mud clinging to bike tires and shoe treads forcing attendees to shuffle around.
‘It’s just very slippery. And you can’t drive and it’s hard to maneuver through there and stuff like that. [The ground] just turns to like a paste, basically. So yeah, certainly not ideal,’ meteorologist Scott McGuire told SFGate.
Following the torrential rainfall on Friday, Sunday is again expected to be among the wettest days of the festival and while the rain will make the grounds unpleasant, flash flooding is not expected.
Temperatures are also expected to be far cooler than last year with weekend highs expected to be in the 70s – far lower than the triple digit temperatures endured during last year’s gathering.
A bright and colorful rainbow is seen standing out against the grey skies in the Nevada desert
A double rainbow was seen shortly after Friday evening’s downpours
Some cars were seen stuck in the mud with the desert appearing to be more like a lagoon
In nearby Gerlach, Nevada, hundreds of Burning Man attendees are currently stranded for the night
Driving is not permitted in Black Rock City as weather threatens to turn the desert floor into paste
The weather complicated matters as crowds began to arrive at the festival for the final weekend
Friday and Sunday are expected to be the wettest days of the festival
With little chance for absorption, conditions could deteriorate throughout the weekend
Burning Man officials are urging caution no matter how much rain ends up falling
Heavy rains across the Black Rock Desert where Burning Man is being held have forced organizers to ban people from leaving the site as widespread muddy conditions created treacherous driving conditions
.The roads are so bad walking is virtually impossible, and organizers have asked everyone to ‘hunker down’ and stay in their camps
The event – a ‘rejection of corporatism and capitalism’ – has brought some 70,000 people to the Nevada desert for a series of hedonistic pursuits.
But the weather has not been on the side of attendees as torrential rainfall flooded the area last weekend and caused major delays for those looking to enter.
Thousands have packed into Black Rock City – located in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert – for the iconic event which has been around for nearly 40 years.
The event has become a beacon for Burners – the name for frequent residents of Black Rock City – who wait all year for the festivities.
Despite its reputation, Burning Man organizers define the event not as a festival but as a ‘community and global cultural movement.’
While the Black Rock Desert rarely gets this much rain at once, the last time it did Burning Man organizers were forced to shut the gate for several days
Burning Man organizers are telling burners to shelter in place, not operate generators or other electrically powered instruments that are standing in water and cover anything electrical
A status update on travel within Black Rock City is expected by 10am on Saturday morning
The National Weather Service report for the Black Rock region shows showers continuing intermittently through Sunday night then clearing by Monday