Atlanta photographer says Burning Man festival still 'amazing' despite flooding that trapped thousands

Roads are now open near the Burning Man festival in Nevada, and people are starting to make their way out after flooding trapped 70,000 festival goers for days.

Atlanta Photographer Perry Julien was at the festival. He's part of the Feed the Artists camp. They arrived a week before the festival was supposed to begin to feed those building their art projects. Then during the festival, their camp was supposed to have a late night food court. He told FOX 5 they feed 800 to 1000 people a night.

"One of the principles of Burning Man – there are 10 principles – is gifting," Julien said. "So our gift is feeding the artists."

Friday heavy rain turned the ground into thick mud.

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Burning Man 2023

"It's actually a lake bed, so when it rains, it gets mucky and muddy. So, every year my wife and I would pack boots and raincoats and put them on the bottom and pray we never use them," said Julien.

This year, the boots came out. Festival goers were told to shelter in-place and to start rationing what they had.

"Conserving water, conserving food and there are porta-potties for the general population, so everybody had to be careful not knowing how long this would be," said Julien.

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(Credit: PerryJulienPhotography)

Organizers canceled burns, and shut the gates. The roads were impassable.

"You couldn't drive on it, or you would sink immediately," said Julien. "It's almost like quicksand."

While not the traditional Burning Man Festival, Julien says this one was amazing in its own way. He saw so many people working together, offering to help in any way they could. He says he saw kindness and generosity.

"Stories of people digging out other people's car with their hands who got stuck, going out of their way to help people who had to get out. It's a great testament to humankind and what can happen in these bad situations," said Julien.