Climate change, protests, tech, elitism, (untrue) Ebola rumors—everything converged when heavy rains left thousands of people stranded in the Nevada desert.
Burning Man, the annual festival where tens of thousands gather in the Nevada desert to embrace self-expression, celebrate art and simply get weird, inspires devotion and eye-rolling in seemingly equal measure. While the event espouses anti-capitalist values and radical self-reliance, it also happens to attract ultra-wealthy tech moguls and influencers out for the likes. This year, Burning Man’s complicated politics were thrust into the spotlight as massive flooding turned the desert into an impassible mud pit, closing roads, and temporarily stranding attendees with limited food and water, much to the delight of its online detractors.
Read on to learn more about what happened when the “Burners” got bogged down on the playa and how the bohemian gathering became another battlefield in the culture wars.
Image by Posnov / Getty Images
Everyone piled in on the private jet-flying tech bros getting bogged down in the rain and mud. Can anyone blame us?
A massive storm turned the playa into a mud bath — but the Burners danced, made art, and even held weddings through the deluge.
Here’s what to know about Burning Man, including its origin, purpose and what people do at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert each summer.
For Harvey, it started with the punks, whose imperatives he summarized as “Never sell out, make your own show.”
An Oral History of Burning Man, the Biggest, Weirdest, Most Clothing-Optional Desert Carnival on the Planet (2012)Outside Magazine
“This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words. And indeed in thought.” —T.E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom It took some convincing to get me to Burning Man, even though—or because—friends couldn’t shut up about it.