Burning Man driving ban lifted – mass exodus underway

The driving ban at Burning Man was lifted on Monday – giving the estimated 64,000 remaining visitors a chance to flee to the festival site, which torrential rain had turned into a muddy mess.

“Exodus operations” are officially underway in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert as the terrain is drier, festival organizers said in a released update to his website around 2 p.m. local time.

According to the images of the mass exit, an endless line of vehicles and mobile homes slowly left the area on Monday.

But even though the driving ban was no longer in effect, organizers urged those still present to postpone their departure until Tuesday to ease some of the congestion on the roads.

“Please note that while conditions are improving and roads are drying up, the Playa is still muddy and may be difficult to navigate in some neighborhoods and on certain roads,” organizers said.

Attendees were also asked not to leave Black Rock Desert like others – including comedian Chris Rock and DJ Diplo – did over the weekend.

According to a video posted to Instagram by Diplo, whose real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz, the two appeared to have walked six miles through mud on Saturday before riding in the back of a fan’s pickup truck.

“I actually walked the curb for hours with my thumbs out,” Diplo wrote.

A recreational vehicle and trailer is stuck in the dried mud near the Burning Man festival site.
A recreational vehicle and trailer were seen stuck in dried mud near the Burning Man festival site Monday.

The mass exodus began on Monday afternoon.
The mass exodus began on Monday.

The festival banned driving off-site after more than an inch of rain inundated the area on Friday, resulting in foot-deep mud. Still, some left the festival by car before organizers gave them permission on Monday.

Weather permitting, the cremation of the “man” – a large wooden effigy in the shape of a man – is expected to take place on Monday evening. The burning of a wooden temple structure is scheduled for Tuesday night, marking the end of the festival.

The cremation was postponed as authorities worked to reopen escape routes by the end of Labor Day weekend.

The festival turned into a muddy mess as heavy rain hit the area.
The festival turned into a muddy mess as heavy rain hit the area.

The well-known alternative festival, first launched on a San Francisco beach in 1986, attracts nearly 80,000 artists, musicians and activists, including wilderness campsites and avant-garde performances.

“We’re a bit dirty and muddy, but vibes are good,” said Southern California photographer Scott London. “The party’s still going.”

As flooding hit the area, revelers were urged to conserve food and water as most remained huddled.

“Everyone has just adjusted, sharing RVs for sleeping and offering food and coffee,” said Philadelphia photographer Rebecca Barger. “I’ve danced for hours in foot-deep clay to incredible DJs.”

Tens of thousands were still there as of Monday afternoon.
Tens of thousands were still there as of Monday afternoon.

Others were able to escape the harsh conditions by walking several miles to the nearest town for a ride.

The festival was rocked by a death over the weekend, although organizers said it wasn’t weather related. Further details about the death of the approximately 40-year-old man were not announced.

With post wires


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing diza@ustimetoday.com.

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