Burning Man 2023 is basically just Fyre Festival 2.0 – here are 6 reasons why

  • The desert where Burning Man is taking place has turned into a muddy hellscape after heavy rain.

  • Social media footage shows festivalgoers trudging in mud and sleeping in tents submerged in water.

  • Some have started drawing parallels between Burning Man and Fyre Fest of 2017 — for good reason.

It's the festival that launched a thousand memes, a jaw-dropping Netflix documentary and made Billy McFarland a household name — for all the wrong reasons.

In 2017 Fyre Festival promised attendees a three-day luxury music experience in the Bahamas. The event, backed by celebrities such as Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Emily Ratajkowski, was supposed to take place on a private beach on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas, featuring headliners like Blink-182.

But, as most people know by now, none of that happened.

From musical artists dropping out to non-existent event infrastructure, Fyre Festival ultimately descended into chaos, and the infamy of what occurred six years ago lives on to this day.

Fast-forward to 2023. All eyes are now on Burning Man, a festival hosted in the desert of Nevada, where thousands are sheltered in place after rain transformed it into a muddy hellscape.

A Burning Man attendee makes their way through the mud in Black Rock, Nevada on September 2, 2023.
A Burning Man attendee makes their way through the mud in Black Rock, Nevada, on September 2, 2023.Trevor Hughes/USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS

To be clear, Burning Man is an arts and music festival that has occurred annually in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, since 1986.

The decades since have seen Burning Man attract thousands of people each year, and, according to those who have been before, it's filled with amazing interactive art pieces, music, and friendly people.

Usually, photographs shared in previous years show attendees, often dressed glamorously, frolicking in the otherworldly desert landscape in front of impressive art installations and enjoying live music.

This year, however, things did not exactly go to plan. On Friday, festival organizers told the over 70,000 attendees to "conserve food, water, and fuel" and shelter in place after Black Rock Desert experienced more than half an inch of rain, turning the desert sand into thick mud and resulting in the cancellation of the remaining music events.

Some people who attended Burning Man this year paid thousands to be there, just like those who booked tickets for Fyre Festival in 2017.

Some people are wearing plastic bags over their shoes.
Some people are wearing plastic bags over their shoes at Burning Man.Paul Reder/Reuters

Fyre Fest, organized by Ja Rule and McFarland's company, Fyre Media, was advertised to take place on a private beach over two separate weekends.

Tickets for the ill-fated festival were not cheap by any means — those who booked to go spent between $450 and $12,000, which included accommodations and flights to the island.

Meanwhile, some Burning Man attendees also spent thousands to attend the Nevada-based festival this year. According to the website, tickets ranged from $575 to $2,750, not including fees for parking, camping, and bike rentals.

One TikToker said her father paid $7,000 to attend this year's event — only to get stuck in the "apocalyptic trenches."

Like Fyre Festival, some people at Burning Man are staying in extremely uncomfortable-looking accommodations this year.

Tents are seen covered to protect them from the rain as the mud covers the ground at Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada on September 1, 2023.
Tents are seen covered to protect them from the rain as the mud covers the ground a the Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada on September 1, 2023.Paul Reder/via REUTERS

As Insider previously reported, Fyre Fest promised ticket holders they'd stay in luxury, eco-friendly glamping domes. However, the festival's accommodations were disaster relief tents — a far cry from what guests were promised.

Burning Man guarantees attendees much less. On its website, the festival says, "Your home is what you make of it — whether it's a tent, a more complicated yurt, a customized van, or a RV or trailer you drive in."

While many stayed in trailers and RVs, guests who opted for tents posted TikTok videos of their flooded festival homes.

Even though Burning Man's accommodations were a free-for-all-all, not promised by the festival itself, attendees at each event got something much different than they bargained for.


Social media footage of a dining area at Burning Man shows people waiting to grab food while standing in inches of mud. At Fyre Festival, dining was a similarly unpleasant experience.

One video posted to TikTok showed barefoot festivalgoers gathered for breakfast, their feet sinking into ankle-deep mud.

The visual prompted several social media users to warn of Trench Foot, with some going as far as to rename the event "Trench Foot 2023."

Meanwhile, at Fyre Fest, guests reported an equally unpleasant dining experience. They were promised gourmet food options, but as Insider previously reported, the luxury catering group cut ties with Fyre Fest ahead of the event — leaving festivalgoers to grab food from "makeshift food tents."

One person tweeted that attendees were given "literally bread, cheese, and salad with dressing."

Fyre Festival reportedly had very few toilets for attendees to use. Burning Man does have porta potties — but people appear to be having a hell of a time getting to them.

fyre festival 6
A photo of the porta-potties at Fyre Festival in 2017.Lamaan Gallal

Emails leaked to Mic in 2017 showed that Fyre Festival's organizers skimped on bathrooms for the guests. According to the emails, Fyre employees pushed to halve the number of porta potties sent to the island to cut back on costs.

A lawsuit filed in May of 2017 alleged that "The island was lacking basic amenities."

"There were no communal showers or bathrooms as promised; instead, there were port-a-potties (only about one for every 200 yards) that were knocked down and only three showers although there were hundreds of people arriving," the suit continued.

While Burning Man does have rows of porta potties for guests to use, videos shared to social media show attendees having to trudge through sloppy mud to access them — which means it's even harder to clean them.


In a photo posted to his Instagram story, Chris Rock wrote, "From what I understand, because of the flooding, the port-o-potties reportedly can't be emptied."



Fyre Festival was touted by celebrities who never attended. High-profile people did go to Burning Man this year but escaped sheltering in place.

Diplo recorded his Burning Man escape on fitness and running app Strava.
Diplo recorded his Burning Man escape on the fitness and running app Strava.Diplo/Instagram

Ahead of Fyre Fest in 2017, celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid promoted the event — but many high-profile names didn't attend the festival.

Jenner, who had promoted the event extensively, deleted posts about the festival from her Instagram page.

When it came to Burning Man this year, major celebrities did attend — but got out of the messy situation as soon as possible.

Chris Rock and Diplo, for example, fled the festival on foot. Diplo's decision to distance himself from the event was a bit more challenging than just deleting Instagram photos — the DJ endured a six-mile walk through mud, hitchhiking, and a barefoot walk to a jet.




Read the original article on Insider