BLACK ROCK DESERT, Nev. – Cutter Ray Palacios, a first-time Burning Man attendee, describes how fellow "burners" fostered a sense of community while being stranded at the Nevada festival by floodwaters.
Monsoon rains Friday and over the weekend caused flash flooding at the annual Burning Man Festival, turning the usually dry, desert setting into a muddy mess that prevented tens of thousands from leaving the festival grounds.
Despite this, many festival attendees made the most of the mess. According to Palacios, attendees spent the time telling stories, playing music and card games, spending time in art installations known as "art cars" and watching the sun rise together.
He also noted how some people shared food, water and other resources with one another, particularly as the remote location of the festival and the road closures caused by floodwater prevented attendees from leaving or receiving much outside help.
While floodwaters may have temporarily disconnected attendees from the world outside the festival, they helped create a closeness among the attendees as they bonded over such a unique weather experience.
"Burning Man's all about community and talking with one another, and we continued to do that through the rain," he said.
- Image 1 of 4
- Image 2 of 4
- Image 3 of 4
- Image 4 of 4
On Monday, festival attendees were allowed to leave by the grounds starting at noon, but muddy roads prevented vehicles from leaving until 2 p.m.
At least one death has been confirmed at Burning Man during the flooding rains on Friday. The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said they are investigating the death reported during the rain event to see whether it was related to the severe weather.