Elon Musk calls Burning Man ‘best art on Earth’ amid chaos that saw thousands stranded and one dead

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Elon Musk offered lofty praise to the Burning Man festival - after this year's event descended into disaster with one person dead and thousands left stranded in the Nevada desert after intense floods.

“Burning Man is unique in the world,” Mr Musk wrote on his platform X on Sunday. “Hard to describe how incredible it is for those who have never been. Best art on Earth.”

The post drew scrutiny for two reasons. First off, it came as the desert festival is suffering from utter chaos on all sides — torrential floods caused by Tropical Storm Hilary, false claims of an Ebola outbreak, tens of thousands of stranded attendees, and even a death caused by reasons “unrelated to the weather.”

On top of this mess, Mr Musk seemed to be commenting on a video from Paris Fashion Week in 2022 — not Burning Man.

He was replying to a post of someone who claims to be stuck at the festival: “I’m currently stranded at Burning Man, along with thousands of others. Despite the unexpected challenges, some artists managed to put together an impromptu catwalk show. The ‘I’m in the mud’ show is a metaphor for trying stuff and always learning,” the user wrote. “I’m deeply inspired by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of this community.”

The post was accompanied by a video of someone in a long black dress, black gloves and boots trudging through mud.

A note from the social media platform explained: “This is not burning man. It is from Balengiaga fashion show in Paris.” The note even included a link to the video clip of the luxury brand’s “mud bath” show.

In fairness to the Tesla founder, festivalgoers were in fact schlepping through mud — and some were even building mud sculptures.

After some postponement, Burning Man said that the site is expected to open on Monday morning, though that will depend on weather cooperation.

According to its website, the festival is a “temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.” The six-day event in the Black Rock Desert was set to run from 27 August through 4 September.

As of Monday morning, the Burning Man officials suggested that festivalgoers might be able to finally leave the premises, writing on X: “Gate Road remains too wet & muddy for most vehicles to safely navigate out of BRC this morning, but is drying. Exodus likely to begin around noon today.”