Thousands of motorcyclists and cosplayers descend on the Mojave Desert for five-day wild Mad-Max style Wasteland Festival

  • 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.

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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