Burning Man exodus begins as boggy conditions improve
To prevent congestion, they suggested delaying departure until Tuesday, rather than noon (19:00 GMT).
A mud bath had been created by heavy rain. At noon, 62,000 of the 72,000 stranded were still there.
A man died on Friday unrelated to the weather, organizers said.
A 40-year-old man was rescued by emergency services, but he could not be resuscitated, they said. The local sheriff’s office announced earlier that it was investigating. The event’s traditional finale – the burning of an effigy – has been moved to Monday evening.
The driving ban at the site was lifted on Monday afternoon. While conditions are improving and roads are dry, organizers warned that the beach is still muddy and may be difficult to navigate in some neighborhoods.
Rainstorms hit the Black Rock Desert near the end of last week, the longest and heaviest since the festival began more than 30 years ago.
Dancer Martyna Sowa, who was booked to perform at the event, told Radio 4’s Today programme that she was surprised by the conditions.
“It was really strange,” she said.
In accordance with the festival’s ethos, revelers are encouraged to take shelter and conserve food, fuel, and water.
However, service vehicles were unable to drive on the mud to empty the portable toilets because of the bad weather.
“We were originally told we couldn’t leave until Tuesday, but people who really need to leave have been allowed to leave,” said Ms Sowa.
Many remained on site, but some hiked 5 miles (8km) through mud to reach the nearest road. Some people claim that they had to pay for rides or hitchhike out of the area after the event’s organizers arranged buses to take them to Reno.
There was no guarantee of a ride, and organizers advised people not to walk to County Road 34. Despite the boggy conditions, other revelers held karaoke parties and danced in the mud.
Jazz Korona told the “I’m enjoying myself a lot.”.
By Sunday, however, the exhilaration had been replaced by an air of exasperation, with people increasingly eager to leave.
Burning Man participant Faye, who lives in London, says she has been covered in mud for three days.