Revellers stuck in the mud for days at the Burning Man festival in Nevada finally began heading home after Mother Nature rained on their big party.
With the sun now shining on the colourful makeshift community of 70,000 people called Black Rock City, the roads opened on Monday afternoon, kicking off the official exit process known as the “Exodus”.
“Exodus operations have officially begun in Black Rock City,” the festival said in a statement on its website. “The driving ban has been lifted.”
However, organisers called on visitors to delay their departures from the site – a dried-up lake bed in a remote patch of the Nevada desert – until Tuesday to avoid massive congestion on the way out.
Festivalgoers had been stranded since torrential rains, described as two to three months worth in the space of hours, came down on Friday night and Saturday, turning the venue into a quagmire.
So-called “Burners” wearing trademark outlandish outfits trudged through the thick, sticky mud with plastic bags as boots or in bare feet.
Some left on foot, hiking for hours in the middle of the night to make it to the nearest road and hitch a ride out.
The closest airport is a three-hour drive away in Reno.
The festival – for which tickets cost hundreds of dollars – culminates each year with the ceremonial burning of a 40-foot (12-metre) effigy.