Burning Man is stuck in the mud. The weeklong annual event in the Nevada desert, popular among Silicon Valley elites, has this year been pummeled by rain, and some 70,000 attendees are being told by organizers to “conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space.”
The event is held each summer in Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis about two hours outside Reno erected for the occasion. Its website describes Black Rock City as being “dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.”
“Do not travel to Black Rock City!” reads a statement from the organizers posted to X on Saturday. “Access to the city is closed for the remainder of the event, and you will be turned around.”
“For anyone in BRC, help each other stay safe,” reads an X post from late Friday. “The gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed. Ingress and egress are halted for the time being.”
On social media, attendees have dubbed this year’s event “Raining Man 2023” and “Trench Foot 2023.” One TikTok video showing camps and tents ruined by the rain includes text reading, “Burning Man is under water. The end of a dream!” Another shows attendees waiting in line for breakfast standing in thick mud.
In another TikTok video, a broadcaster for Burning Man Information Radio is heard saying: “Do not drive your vehicle. Do not ride your bike. Do not push your bike around. Remain where you are. Secure structures and belongings in your camp. Don’t operate generators or other electrically-powered instruments that are standing in water. Cover or secure anything electrical. Check on your camp-mates and neighbors to make sure they’re okay and help them as needed, and take advantage of a moment of calm to connect with camp-mates and hunker down. Stay safe out there, Black Rock City.”
According to the National Weather Service, showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue Saturday night and Sunday before sunny weather returns on Monday—the last day of the event.
The event website says, “Burning Man is not a festival! It’s a city wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the experience.”
This year, it’s the mud created entirely by nature that will likely be most remembered.