Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Burning Man exodus begins but revelers face 8-hour wait to escape muddy venue

After being surrounded by mud and placed on virtual lockdown amid a stormy weekend, those exiting Burning Man faced a little more hardship Monday night — an 8-hour wait to get out. 
Organizers lifted a virtual lockdown for the annual Burning Man festival Monday, allowing attendees' annual "exodus" to begin after a weekend of rain and mud isolated the Nevada desert venue. 
Monday is traditionally the day most people leave the weeklong celebration of countercultural music and arts, but this year the green light for departure unlocked a venue beset by impassable roads, muddy tents, and a shelter-in-place recommendation. 
Following the 2 p.m. announcement that festivalgoers could leave by car, vehicles lined up at the main gate, and the wait to get out was said to be more than 5 hours. 
By late evening, organizers said the wait was eight hours. They suggested patrons stay until the end of the night's annual "burn," in which a 40-foot wooden man is torched, to leave. 
Sgt. Nathan Carmichael of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said he didn't believe a significant number of patrons would stay for the customary end-of-event burning in effigy, given their isolation in rain and mud for a weekend of what was supposed to have been a major party. 
"There's a very large line of people trying to leave right now," he said Monday afternoon.

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