Escape from Burning Man

Nevada’s desert festival shows not even artistic hippie retreats are immune from the effects of climate change

It was supposed to be an escape from it all. Worry, bills, work. A week-long festival of music, costumes and dancing. A bacchanalian desert celebration celebration with an overemphasis on fire performers and scrap metal sculptures that might generously be described as art. A Mad Max-adjacent festival deep in the Nevada desert, one last refuge where revellers could be their true, authentic selves. Except, this year’s Burning Man didn’t quite go to plan.

Taking place in the Black Rock Desert in Pershing County, Nevada from August 27 to September 4, the 35th Burning Man event saw an estimated 73,000 people decamp to the desert. The problem was, following freak rainfall of over 1.3cm on Friday September 1st, attendees found themselves stranded in a quagmire not just of avant-garde performances, questionable fashion and music taste, but actual mud. Thick, gloopy mud that stranded vehicles, making passage out impossible.

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