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Videos show Burning Man chaos, where some attendees are hiking barefoot through mud and rationing canned tuna, while others party through it

Charissa Cheong   

Videos show Burning Man chaos, where some attendees are hiking barefoot through mud and rationing canned tuna, while others party through it
  • Burning Man attendees have been stuck on site for days due to heavy flooding in the area.
  • On TikTok, users have been documenting the chaos of navigating through muddy conditions.

TikTokers are documenting chaos at Burning Man festival after flooding left thousands of attendees stranded on-site.

Burning Man is a nine-day event in the Nevada desert, known for the burning of a wooden man-shaped structure which takes place during the event. Tickets to the festival start at $575 each, with the exception of 5,000 tickets available at $220 to people on low incomes, according to the event website. Pershing County Sheriff's Sgt. Nathan J. Carmichael estimates 70,000 people attended this year, NBC reported.

Attendees were asked to shelter and conserve food and water after a rainstorm created severely muddy conditions on Friday night. Thousands of burners were left stranded on-site, and a Burning Man spokesperson told Insider in a statement that organizers are prioritizing providing an exit for attendees.

On TikTok, users have been filming updates as people appear to be trying to make exits of their own, despite the guidance.


Barely made it out of Black Rock City to avoid the 2 day lockdown. Exodus is real. Stay safe everyone Part 2 when I make it home

♬ Oh No - Kreepa

One user, Grace Barr, filmed herself and others "escaping" the event, saying they walked through muddy ground for three hours before reaching the freeway, where they began the process of hitchhiking toward home.

Another user, @Ivoryringlord, said in a video posted on September 3 that, "A lot of people are simply picking up what they can carry and walking all the way back to the main gate road to meet with pre-arranged transportation such as Uber." He expressed concern about the many possessions people appeared to be leaving behind, which he said would lead to a "horrible clean-up mess."

@ivoryringlord Many people are abandoning their campsites and walking to the gate. In large numbers, this will leave a massive footprint that will not oniy be a cleanup nightmare, but could threaten the ability to hold future Burn events. #burningman #burningman2023 #liveupdate ♬ original sound - Ivoryringlord

Meanwhile, other creators seem to be staying put as the gate remains closed, filming snippets that show the reality of how they are trying to cope with the muddy conditions. Some appear to have still been partying in the night hours in spite of all that's happened.

@burningmanfashion #burningman update by @Christine Lee #burningman2023 #burningmanvideos #thankslarry ♬ original sound - burningmanfashion

A user named Christine Lee shared a video update that was posted on the @burningmanfashion account, explaining how she and another attendee were handling the situation. She said they were walking barefoot on the ground because it was difficult to navigate through the sticky mud with shoes and that they were planning on surviving on a week's worth of tuna that they had with them.

TikTok user @thegingerbanks said in a video from September 3 that she was still "thriving" at the event and that her camp served a pancake brunch in spite of the adverse weather conditions, with plans to host a barbeque for people who needed food.

@thegingerbanks #burningman is always a lesson in how powerful your mindset is! #burningsurvivor #muddywoman #burningman2023 ♬ original sound - Ginger Banks

"This is a lesson in how multiple people can be experiencing the exact same thing. Some people can be having such a beautiful, wonderful, lovely time, and some people can be tortured throughout this. The only difference is their mindset," she said in the clip.

Some people have expressed concerns about the various health risks attached to the situation, including the risk of "trench foot," a condition that can occur if the feet are wet for long periods of time, as well as hypothermia and infections diseases.

Social media users who document chaos happening at large-scale events often go viral on the app for capturing on-the-ground footage of what happened.

Last year, creators captured a collapsed tent and long queues in hot weather conditions at the Ace Family Fest, a fan event held by family vlogging creators Austin and Catherine McBroom. Similarly, a number of TikTokers went viral for capturing scenes of chaos at a meet-and-greet for Australian influencer Anna Paul, which was eventually shut down by police.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.