Thousands went to the Mojave Desert this week for Wasteland Weekend

Festival of the apocalypse: Thousands descend on Mojave Desert for five-day Mad-Max style Wasteland Festival ‘beyond the grip of so-called civilization’

  • Organizers of the Wasteland Weekend festival describe it as a world ‘pulled out of the Mad Max movies’
  • The festival has been held annually since 2010, except in 2020 due to COVID
  • An estimated 4,000 people attended the immersive experience in 2019, where costumes are encouraged
  • But outfits have to fit the theme, with banned looks including Star Wars, Harley Quinn, Disney and robots
  • Guests enjoy fire dancers, burlesque, live bands and DJs and a film festival
  • The 18-and-over festival is BYOB and no alcohol is sold on the premises 

Thousands of fans of the apocalypse have descended on California’s Mojave Desert for a five-day-long festival that looks like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster.

The immersive Wasteland Weekend Festival has been held in Edwards, California every year since 2010, but was cancelled last year due to Covid restictions. 

But the event came back with a vengeance this year, as leather-clad motorcyclists and cosplayers returned to the desert from Wednesday.

The festival describes itself as a ‘world pulled straight out of the Mad Max movies and other post-apocalyptic films and games, beyond the grip of so-called civilization,’ according to its website. 

Attendees enjoy fire dancers, burlesque acts, live bands and DJs, and even a movie theater with an in-house film festival as they gallivant around the desert pretending the rest of the world has been pulverized.

Photos from this week’s event show revelers walking the desert wearing torn fishnets and shirts, covered in dirt and carrying mock weapons.

Wasteland Weekend Festival asks attendees to adhere to the theme as much as possible in order to not break the illusion

Organizers ask guests: ”Can you walk through the background of a movie like Road Warrior or Book of Eli and not distract the audience by looking out of place?’

Guests may bring their own alcohol, though none is allowed to be sold on the premises

RPG at RPG: Above, someone at role-playing event with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher

The strictly 18-and-over festival asks attendees to adhere to the theme and not break the illusion. Certain zones are reserved for those who don’t want to break character.

‘Do you pass as existing on the same movie set or will you stick out? Can a logical connection be seen between your theme and everyone else around you (without you having to explain it verbally)?’ the festival asks on its FAQ page.

‘Can you walk through the background of a movie like Road Warrior or Book of Eli and not distract the audience by looking out of place?’

Among outfit no-nos are: robot costumes, anime-inspired looks, and anything Star Wars, Batman, Disney, and Harley Quinn.

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Along with live bands, the festival also hosts an in-house film festival

The event has a strict post-apocalyptic theme drawn mostly from the Mad Max films

The Wasteland Weekend Festival kicked off on September 22 and ends Sunday, September 26

Organizers took a year off due to COVID-19 concerns, but revelers are back with a vengeance

Outfit no-no’s include: Star Wars, anime, Disney, Batman, Harley Quinn and visible shirt logos

The five-day event takes place near the Mojave Desert in Edwards, California

Attendees enjoy entertainment from fire dancers, burlesque acts and live bands and DJs

The event is strictly 18-and-over and requires a photo ID to be shown at the door for entry

A post shared by Wasteland Weekend (@wastelandweekend)

Vehicles at the event must be driven at 5 mph or less, and never at night, organizers say

Phones are not banned but guests are encouraged to limit the use for photos and emergencies

Tickets are $245 per person and include parking, camping, and unlimited ins and outs

The biggest inspirations are the Mad Max films Road Warrior, Thunderdome and Fury Road

A post shared by Wasteland Weekend (@wastelandweekend)

Certain zones, like Wasteland City, are 100 percent theme-required and strictly overseen

An estimated 4,000 people showed up in 2019, though this year’s figures are as of yet unknown

A woman in fishnets and a makeshift torn umbrella walks around a post-apocalyptic set

The festival has been held in the Mojave Desert every year since 2010, except for last year

The festival encourages costumes that are in-line with the theme, but nothing outside of it

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