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Madness At Burning Man Festival As 70,000 Punters Stranded, One Person Reportedly Dead

4 September 2023 | 9:24 am | Mary Varvaris

"Conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space."

Burning Man Festival 2023

Burning Man Festival 2023 (Source: YouTube/KHOU 11)

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Burning Man, a festival that’s meant to represent the counterculture of American attendees in the Nevada desert, has been struck with 1.3 centimetres of rain that’s bogged down vehicles, stranding punters in the mud until Tuesday (5 September).

To add to the festival’s woes, one festivalgoer has reportedly died, and 70,000 people are stranded on-site.

AP News reports that the freak weather event struck on Friday (1 September). Road closures are also in place around the Black Rock Desert site, and the burning of a wooden effigy – the festival’s entire namesake – has been postponed.

On Saturday, Diplo fled the festival after walking five miles (over eight kilometres) with Chris Rock and was eventually picked up by a fan.

“Just walked 5 miles in the mud out of burning man with chris rock and a fan picked us up,” Diplo tweeted, with the DJ taking to his Instagram Stories and writing, “I legit walked the side of the road for hours with my thumb out”.

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According to the New York Times, festival officials have also urged punters to ration their supplies by conserving food and water.

“We have not witnessed any negativity, any rough times,” Burning Man festival organiser Theresa Galeani told AP News. “Some people … were supposed to leave a few days ago, so they’re out of water or food. But I am an organiser, so I went around and found more water and food. There is more than enough here for people. We just have to get it to everyone.”

Due to the treacherous weather conditions, the festival site is closed to all vehicles coming and leaving aside from emergency services for the remainder of its runtime – the 2023 edition of Burning Man was scheduled to run from 27 August until 4 September.

“Conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space,” organisers urged attendees in a statement.

Burning Man volunteer Josh Lease doesn’t seem too fazed by the conditions, telling NPR: “It's like any other Burning Man, just muddy.”

According to reports, President Joe Biden has been informed of the situation at Burning Man festival, including the death. No cause of death for the punter has been revealed.