First day of Burning Man festival canceled due to rare rainstorm

Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:39pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Burning Man, the week-long arts and culture festival that brings attendees from around the world to the Nevada desert, canceled its first day on Monday as rare rain storms drenched the area, organizers said.

Each year some 60,000 people spend the last week in August camping and exercising "radical self-expression" on a dry lake bed called the playa in the Black Rock Desert, about 110 miles north of Reno, according to the event's website.

This year, rare rainstorms moving through Nevada left standing water and mud in the playa, forcing organizers and local officials to cancel the first day of the event and lock out thousands of people who had arrived at the site prepared to camp inside its confines.

"Black Rock City is closed until midday Tuesday due to rain and standing water," event organizer Jim Graham said on Twitter. "At the request of organizers, law enforcement is turning back cars."

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, some of the attendees, known as "burners," were headed to alternate campsites until the event could start.

Tickets to the event range from $380 to $650.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Ken Wills)

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