Festival titan Burning Man wrapped up its 2022 edition with some not-so-dusty events. Its lusted-after comeback after a three-year COVID-19 delay translated into iconic music sets and jaw-dropping art installations – but sandstorms, a mass exodus, and Mad Max-styled fights were also part of the picture.
On Monday, Burning Man attendees faced an eight-hour journey in the sweltering desert.
A big chunk of the electronic fans left the campground when the festival ended, leading to seemingly endless lines of vehicles waiting to get away from Nevada’s Black Rock desert.
Dozens of pictures depicting the apocalyptic traffic jam flooded social media, with festival-goers saying they had to wait up to 12 hours to leave the clogged traffic jam.
Festival organizers took to social media to advise attendees on their travel conditions. “Exodus wait time is currently around 8 hours. Consider delaying your departure until conditions approve,” they said in a Twitter post.
This wasn’t the only bummer that plagued Burning Man’s much-awaited return.
As if the blaring heat wasn’t enough, a sandstorm caused a white-out across the festival’s grounds, forcing organizers to shutter entrances and exits. The unfortunate weather conditions carpeted revelers with dust and threatened Saturday’s arts and music schedules.
But just like Yin and Yang, there was some good in the bad.
Before the mass exodus and baleful sandstorm, Burning Man’s attendees danced the nights away surrounded by pyrotechnic installations.
Besides the blazed effigy man – dubbed as the Burning Man – which acts as a traditional ritual marking the festival’s end, a fire-breathing octopus and rhino contraptions further swept festival-goers off their feet.
Twitter footage saw attendees participate in a staged brawl as the music bash drew to a close. Suspended by ropes and equipped with foam sticks, festival-goers freed their party animal spirit in Mad Max-themed cinematic fights.
Burning Man, which evokes Woodstock’s unapologetic chaos and Matrix’s flamboyant futurism, kicked off in 1986 as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice. Over the years, the pyrotechnic event moved from the beach to the desert, becoming a playground where music and art mesh seamlessly.
Fast forward to today, the music giant draws in crowds of tens of thousands due to its art sanctuary and creative hotbed statuses.