Over the last week, thousands of people at the Burning Man Festival have been stranded in the desert, as inclement weather has made it impossible to leave.
The Burning Man Festival, which began in 1986, takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Every year, people travel and join the community of attendees with the hope of connecting to their individual creative powers and to “the larger realm of civic life.” Since 2013, the festival has hosted over 65,000 people at the campsite. In 2020, that number grew to around 500,000 because the festival was online due to the pandemic.
During the festival, attendees camp out in the temporary town called Black Rock City. The festival is meant to themed camps and massive art installations such as a giant inflatable pink tiger, robotic sculptures and a 50-foot tapestry. At the end of the festivities, campers will set fire to an effigy called “Burning Man.”
Over the course of the week, some campers took to TikTok to give a more in-depth look at the housing situation. TikToker Angie Peacock (@angiepeacockmsw) posted a video showing the shower situation, which consisted of a hose and limited privacy.
“Im just going to be dirty. Ive embraced the dust,” she wrote in her caption.
While the housing situation Peacock showed is typical, the weather conditions — which have many trapped — are anything but.
This year, 0.8 inches of rain — which, according to CNN, represents two to three months’ worth in the state — fell on the Nevada desert and has thrown the entire festival into survival mode.
While the festival goers are trying to get themselves out of a tough situation, several people are taking this time to discuss whether those people should’ve been there to begin with.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why people are willing to pay to essentially experience what tens of thousands of unhoused Californians experience every single day,” Erika D. Smith, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote. “My only hope is that once all the Burners return home, they will remember not just the partying, but the hardships they experienced.”
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, nearly 600,000 people were unhoused in 2022. This amounts to 18 people out of every 10,000 being unhoused. Due to this number, which has risen 6% since 2017, social media users are vehemently oppose to the high prices of festival and its aesthetic.
There are several prices for the Burning Man Festival tickets depending on when you buy them. The first ones to go on sale come during the FOMO sale and start at $1,500 and go up to $2,750. However, a majority of the tickets, which can be purchased during the Stewards Sale and cost $575. According to the Burning Man website, the festival provides these cheaper tickets in order to allow crews who set up installations to come and in an attempt to help promote diversity.
After seeing the prices of the festival and how many people attend, TikTokers also jumped into the discussion.
“You’re a 35-45 year old with Peter Pan Syndrome at Burning Man cosplaying as a poor person for 15K,” wrote @thegoodthebadtheryan.
TikTokers criticized the campers for “cosplaying survival” and called them “trust fund kids.”
“All of this is so funny to me because in a time where people are actually, legitimately trying to survive, we still have trust fund kids doing these things,” wrote @thewheatwhich.
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