It was anything but positive, chill vibes after unexpected rain storms and flooding destroyed the 2023 Burning Man festival, leaving thousands trapped for days, unable to leave the desert until it dried up.
“The Playa,” the mini-city where the festival pops up in the Northwestern Nevada desert, was inundated with water during the storms and essentially turned into a swamp of thick mud and flooded campsites, leading to a driving ban being placed, which prevented the estimated 70,000 attendees from being able to leave.
Many festivalgoers documented the mass exodus and chaotic conditions on various social media platforms, including celebrities like Chris Rock and Diplo who were picked up in a truck by fans and rescued after walking through the mud for six hours.
the Burning Man flood looks like Reading festival on a good day pic.twitter.com/nODqkuygJb
— Ava-Santina (@AvaSantina) September 3, 2023
Good thing you didn’t go to Burning Man @eth_ben
— Tony Luck (@RealTonyLuck) September 3, 2023
@__tiktokdetective__ Burning Man Update for Sunday September 3rd. Its supposed to rain again today. Some people seem to be making the best of it while others are trying to leave eventhough they have told them to stay in place. Burners gonna have to figure it out #burningman2023 ♬ Quirky Suspenseful Indie-Comedy(1115050) – Kenji Ueda
The ban was officially lifted on Monday at 2 p.m. local time with the organization that runs the festival, The Burning Man Project, urging attendees to delay their departures until Tuesday, if possible, to avoid the inevitable congestion.
Festival organizers said that an estimated 64,000 “burners” were still on the playa as of Monday afternoon, as the main event of the festival — the burning of a large wooden man — had been postponed to Monday evening due to the weather conditions.
“Burning Man is a community of people who are prepared to support one another. We have come here knowing this is a place where we bring everything we need to survive,” the Burning Man Project said over the weekend. “Get some rest and spend some quality time with your campmates. We will all get out of this, it will just take time.”