Thousands of Burning Man festival participants managed to get out of the remote desert in Nevada, United States, on Monday, September 4, 2023 after the road was reopened. Burning Man organizers have reopened roads to a remote desert festival in Nevada so tens of thousands of attendees can escape after being trapped for days in mud.
But many of the 64,000 people still at the Burning Man Festival site through Monday. They will likely stay another night and watch the festival’s giant statue burn on Monday night, one day behind schedule.
An unexpected summer rain turns the annual week-long counterculture arts festival into a nightmare. When the road finally reopened, long lines of vehicles snaked their way through the desert. The vehicle was stuck in a heavy traffic jam when event organizers asked drivers to move slowly on Monday. Visitors finally considered delaying their departure until Tuesday to reduce traffic congestion.
The exodus of visitors to the Burning Man festival is also more organized with a 10-lane wide road. Fleets of recreational vehicles and cars searched for the promised spot for hot showers and clean beds.
The committee prepared an exit in the form of an 8-kilometer dirt road to the nearest main road. Burning Man Traffic’s account on social media platform X estimates the “exodus” took 5-1/2 hours.
This site in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert sits above the former Lake Lahontan, which the US Geological Society describes as a deep lake that only existed about 15,000 years ago.
For days, up to 70,000 people were ordered to stay put and
conserve food and water as officials closed roads, so vehicles had to stay put.
“People look after each other. One person died in the incident, officials said on Sunday. An investigation is under way.
“This really looks apocalyptic,” said festival volunteer Evi Airy. Some people have young children here like three or four years old. I don’t know how they survived.”
Before the gates were officially opened, the campers had started to leave while it was still dark. Trapped vehicles littered the streets of the makeshift Black Rock City built for the festival, some of which blocked their way due to loss of control.
Every year the Burning Man Festival draws tens of thousands of people out into the Nevada desert to dance, create art, and enjoy being part of a temporary, self-sustaining community of like-minded people. Starting in 1986 as a small gathering on a San Francisco beach, this week-long festival is now attended by celebrities and social media influencers. Regular tickets are priced at US$ 575.