Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA turns into a disaster due to an unusual storm that occurs in the summer. As a result, saround 70,000 visitors to Burning Man were stuck in the mud in the middle of the desert. This condition is exacerbated due to reduced stocks of water and food supplies.
The ensuing chaos prompted Burning Man organizers to open their way out of the festival in the remote desert on Monday (4/9), so that tens of thousands of people were able to escape the rain-soaked festival site.
“Operation exodus has officially started in Black Rock City. The driving ban has been lifted,” the festival’s website announced on Monday (4/9), quoted as saying. Al Jazeera.
Here are the facts about the Burning Man Festival that turned into chaos.
1. What is the Burning Man Festival?
Photo: Satellite view shows the center camp during the Burning Man 2023 festival, in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, August 28, 2023. (via REUTERS/MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES)
Photo: The large wooden building nicknamed “The Man” that was supposed to be burned at the height of the Burning Man Festival (via REUTERS/TREVOR HUGHES/USA TODAY NETWORK)
Burning Man is a festival that has been described as a “global ecosystem of artists, creators and communities who come together to create art, events and local initiatives around the world”.
Burning Man is so named because the culminating event is the burning of a large wooden structure called “the Man.” The aim is for it to be an inexplicable event, between a countercultural celebration and a spiritual retreat.
The festival is held in Black Rock City, a temporary community formed in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada.
2. The cost of joining the festival
Scheduled to take place from August 27 to September 4 in 2023, regular tickets cost US$ 575 or around IDR 8.7 million. However, visitors the festival is estimated to cost up to US$1,500, when lodging, travel, food and costumes are taken into account.
3. Cause chaos
Pictured: A Burning Man contestant lies in a mud puddle in Black Rock City, Nevada desert, after a rainstorm on September 2, 2023. (via REUTERS/USA TODAY)
Heavy rains that fell on the festival site on Friday disrupted the festivities, causing giant mud puddles.
The road closure was imposed on Saturday evening, just before the scheduled burning of the festival’s iconic giant wooden statue. Organizers say the burning event has been postponed, and authorities are working to open an exit route over the Labor Day weekend.
Additionally, one death was reported at the festival. Officials in Pershing County said the man was in his 40s, but a cause of death has not been announced. An investigation is underway.
Organizers of Burning Man said the death had nothing to do with the weather.
5. Visitors cannot go home
As the festival is closed to motorized traffic, visitors must trudge through the mud, many barefoot or with plastic bags on their feet, to get to the lanes where vehicles are permitted.
Other visitors were also urged to conserve food and water supplies, and most of them remained in the location.
However, some managed to walk to the nearest town or hitch a ride there.
Celebrity DJ Diplo posted a video to Instagram on Saturday showing him and comedian Chris Rock driving a fan’s pick-up truck. He said they walked 10 km through the mud before getting in the car.
“I walked the side of the road for hours with my thumb outstretched,” wrote Diplo, whose real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz.
6. The vehicle is stuck in the mud
Several participants told the news agency Reuters that many vehicles have difficulty getting through the mud.
The festival exits via an 8km unpaved dirt road to the nearest main road. Photos shared online show the vehicles sinking into the mud up to their inner tube rims, and some use boards under the wheels to help get the vehicles moving.