Washington, Sep 3 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of people were still trapped at Burning Man festival in the Nevada Desert on Sunday, while others escaped by walking miles through the mud after torrential rain plunged the iconic event into chaos.
A person walks in the mud under a rainbow at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, 02 September 2023 (issued 03 September 2023). EFE/EPA/DIANA JENSEN
Organizers asked attendees to shelter in place and conserve food and water, however some decided to walk out through the desert.
According to Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, some attendees walked to a main road to wait for buses sent out by festival organizers Saturday night.
Sgt Nathan Carmichael told reporters there are currently “a little over 70,000” people stranded at the festival.
A sign at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, USA, 03 September 2023. EFE/EPA/DIANA JENSEN HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
Among those who decided to leave on foot on Saturday were comedian Chris Rock and DJ Diplo.
“Just walked 5 miles in the mud out of burning man with chris rock and a fan picked us up,” the DJ wrote on X alongside a video of the pair on the back of a pickup truck with others leaving the area.
On Sunday, authorities were investigating the death of a person at the site, but they did not provide further information.
The latest report released by organizers on Sunday morning, organizers insisted that roads were still too muddy to reopen and that there is “an uncertain weather front” approaching Black Rock City, the name of the pop-up site built every year to host the festival.
A view of the muddy roadways at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, USA, 03 September 2023. EFE/EPA/BRIAN JENSEN HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
“Some vehicles with 4WD and all-terrain tires are able to navigate the mud and are successfully leaving. But we are seeing most other types of vehicles that try to depart getting stuck in the wet mud which hampers everyone’s Exodus,” it said. “Please do NOT drive at this time.”
Organizers still plan to carry on with the festival’s finale – the burning of a 40-foot effigy of a man – at 9pm on Monday.
“We have come here knowing this is a place where we bring everything we need to survive. It is because of this that we are all well-prepared for a weather event like this,” said organizers on the event’s website.
Burning Man takes place each year on a dry lakebed in the Nevada Desert where attendees can participate in a number of arts, music and community activities.
According to the organizers, the festival is guided by a series of principles, including “civil responsibility”, “radical self-reliance” and “leaving no trace,” and the use of money is not allowed (although tickets cost hundreds to thousands of dollars).
This year’s festival began last Sunday with the theme “Animalia” to “celebrate the animal world and our place in it.” EFE