Burning Man festival dampened by heavy rains as attendees are urged to shelter in place and conserve food

FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2002 file photo the sun rises behind a wood and neon statue, the center piece of the annual Burning Man festival north of Gerlach, Nev. Burning Man organizers are considering requiring attendees to prove they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 if they move forward with plans to hold this year’s counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert. But they have backed off an earlier announcement that they’d already decided to make shots mandatory, and won’t decide for sure until the end of the month whether the event that was canceled last year due to the pandemic will even take place. (AP Photo/Debra Reid, File) Debra Reid/AP

Burning Man festival dampened by heavy rains as attendees are urged to shelter in place and conserve food

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Organizers shut down the entrance to the Burning Man counterculture festival in the Nevada desert Saturday as powerful storms inundated the site with rain.

All movement in and out of Black Rock City, the temporary encampment in the Black Rock Desert where the festival is held each year, has been halted, according to reporting from ABC News, and the city’s on-site airport has also been closed. Around 73,000 attendees, who are now effectively stranded in the desert, are being advised to find shelter and conserve food, water, and fuel.


According to the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Black Rock Desert, the Burning Man gates will remain closed for the remainder of the event, which commenced Aug. 27 and is scheduled to wrap up on Monday.

The Associated Press reported that around six inches of rain fell late Friday, causing flooding, and more is expected Saturday into Sunday.


Burning Man, which takes place during the week leading up to Labor Day, is best known for its final ceremony, in which a large wooden effigy is set on fire. It is staged by a non-profit organization known as the Burning Man Project, which handles all aspects of setting up and then removing accommodations and entertainment for the roughly 80,000 or so people who attend each year.

The first Burning Man festival was held in 1986 on a beach near San Francisco. Its organizers later brought the event to the Nevada desert, and in the 1990s Burning Man became a meeting point for avant-garde artists, bohemians, and craftspeople. In the years since, the festival has become a popular retreat for social media influencers and figures from Hollywood and Silicon Valley, prompting criticism that it has abandoned its early egalitarian principles and emphasis on spiritual connection. In 2016, CNBC estimated that it could cost anywhere from $1,300 to $20,000 to simply get to the site and stay for the gathering’s duration.

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