What is Burning Man? All you need to know about the festival and floods | Entertainment News (labcalindia)

An unusual late-summer storm has turned a weeklong, counterculture festival in the western United States into a sloppy mess.

About 70,000 Burning Man partygoers got stuck in deep mud in the northern Nevada desert amid dwindling water and food supplies.

But organisers of the event said they expected to formally allow vehicles to leave around midday on Monday as conditions were set to improve.

Here is what to know:

What is Burning Man?

Burning Man is a festival described as “a global ecosystem of artists, makers, and community organisers who co-create art, events, and local initiatives around the world”.

The festival gets its name from its culminating event, the burning of a large wooden structure called “the Man” on the penultimate night. It aims to be an undefinable event, somewhere between a celebration of counterculture and a spiritual retreat.

During the event, “Burners” typically arrive in groups and set up themed “camps”, ready to contribute to the festival’s “gift economy” philosophy by providing goods or services without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

The event has been held since 1986.

This year, it was scheduled to run from August 27 until September 4, and a regular ticket cost $575. However, CNBC reported the experience could cost about $1,500 with lodging, travel, food, and costumes.

An overview of the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada [Maxar Technologies via AP]

Where is the Burning Man festival happening?

The festival is held in Black Rock City, a temporary community created in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada.

Its location is far from big cities and about 227km (141 miles) north of Reno.

What went wrong this year?

More than 13mm (0.5 inches) of rain fell at the festival site on Friday, disrupting the celebration.

For the Reno area, the average rainfall for the whole month of September would be 5.4mm (0.21 inches), said Mark Deutschendorf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the city.

“Already, everywhere from Reno up to the Burning Man area, Black Rock, we’ve already exceeded that – and it’s only three days into the month,” he added.

Road closures were imposed just before a giant wooden effigy was supposed to have been burned on Saturday night. Organisers said all burning had been postponed, and authorities were working to open exit routes by the end of the Labor Day weekend.

Organisers closed the festival to vehicles after one death was reported. Officials provided no details of the death. An investigation is under way.

Black Rock City - Nevada

How are people getting out?

With their party closed to motorised traffic, attendees trudged through mud, many barefoot or with plastic bags on their feet. Revellers were urged to conserve supplies of food and water, and most remained hunkered down at the site.

A few, however, managed to walk out to the nearest town or catch a ride there.

Celebrity DJ Diplo posted a video to Instagram on Saturday showing him and comedian Chris Rock riding in the back of a fan’s pick-up truck. He said they walked 10km (6 miles) through the mud before hitching a ride.

“I legit walked the side of the road for hours with my thumb out,” wrote Diplo, whose real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz.

What happened to those stranded?

Those who remain described a resilient community making the most of the mucky conditions. Many posted selfies covered in mud, dancing or splashing in the makeshift lakes.

“We have not witnessed any negativity, any rough times,” organiser Theresa Galeani said.

What happens next?

Organisers posted online that they expected to formally allow vehicles to leave at noon local time on Monday (19:00 GMT).

Some attendees told the Reuters news agency that a steady stream of vehicles have left since predawn, many struggling through the slop.

The exit is via an unpaved, 8km (five-mile) dirt road out to the nearest highway. Photos shared online showed hefty recreational vehicles sunk up to the tyre rims in mud, with some using boards under the wheels to help get traction.

Organisers urged partygoers to consider leaving on Tuesday to “alleviate large amounts of congestion” expected on Monday.

View of the muddy terrain during the Burning Man event at the temporary desert settlement of Black Rock City, Nevada
The muddy terrain during the Burning Man event at the temporary desert settlement of Black Rock City, Nevada [File: Reuters]

Leave a Comment