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Wait, What Happened at Burning Man?

The counterculture festival (and Silicon Valley networking bacchanal) got mired in the mud and the internet had a field day.

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Burning Man, the annual festival where tens of thousands gather in the Nevada desert to embrace self-expression, celebrate art and simply get weird, inspires devotion and eye-rolling in seemingly equal measure. While the event espouses anti-capitalist values and radical self-reliance, it also happens to attract ultra-wealthy tech moguls and influencers out for the likes. This year, Burning Man’s complicated politics were thrust into the spotlight as massive flooding turned the desert into an impassible mud pit, closing roads, and temporarily stranding attendees with limited food and water, much to the delight of its online detractors.

Read on to learn more about what happened when the “Burners” got bogged down on the playa and how the bohemian gathering became another battlefield in the culture wars.

Image by Posnov / Getty Images