Chris Rock and Diplo have shared their experience of escaping Burning Man festival this weekend, with some 73,000 attendees stranded in the desert following heavy downpours in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
“Burners”, as the festival’s attendees are referred to, have been instructed to remain at their campsites as a slow-moving rainstorm fell on the desert.
Organisers asked festivalgoers to “conserve food, water and fuel” and “shelter in a warm, safe space”, with driving and biking temporarily banned on the boggy roads.
Anyone planning on travelling to the festival, scheduled to run 27 August to 4 September, will now be “turned around” as it is shutting down.
Despite the restrictions on driving away from the site, comedian Chris Rock, 58, and music producer Diplo, 44, managed to trudge their way out of the mud for five miles before a fan picked them up in a drier part of the desert, and gave them a ride in their truck.
Diplo shared a video of the pair fleeing the chaos to Twitter/X, writing in the caption: “Just walked five miles in the mud out of Burning Man with Chris Rock and a fan picked us up.”
The annual event, which closes each year with the torching of a 40-foot effigy, has become a pilgrimage of sorts for those who want to leave the banality of everyday life behind and participate in an experiment in temporary community.
just walked 5 miles in the mud out of burning man with chris rock and a fan picked us up pic.twitter.com/0uxSXLHgY6
— diplo (@diplo) September 2, 2023
Unlike at other festivals, at Burning Man, it is the attendees themselves who design and build all the art, activities, and events.
Festival organisers have called Burning Man “the place to find out who you are, then take it a step further”, and each year, thousands flock to the “commerce-free” event, where cash is basically useless apart from buying ice and coffee.
The scenes at Burning Man this year have been compared to those at Fyre Fest, the 2017 festival that notoriously left attendees stranded in the Bahamas. What was promised to be “deluxe housing” actually turned out to be disaster-relief tents, and attendees were served soggy cheese sandwiches. Many of the musical acts didn’t turn up, and ticketholders were left stuck on the island.
The disgraced organiser of Fyre Fest, Billy McFarland, is planning another edition of the event.
In 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison on two counts of wire fraud and ordered to pay £23m back to investors. He was given an early release last year.
“This makes Fyre Festival look like a Chuck E Cheese B’day party,” joked one commenter on X.
“Looking at Burning Man, Fyre Festival is sounding pretty good right now,” added another.
A third wrote: “Burning Man heard that Fyre Fest was making a comeback and said, ‘Hold my beer.’”