Lonely Planet Writer

In pictures: world’s largest post-apocalyptic festival in the Mojave Desert

Forget watching Mad Max, this week a festival in South California offered the full post-apocalyptic experience, with a custom wasteland camping ground being built to house the dystopian themed event.

Festival goer Flip Castillo dresses in things that he has collected throughout his life while attending day two of Wasteland Weekend.
Festival goer Flip Castillo dressed in a selection of licence plates that he collected. Image by Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/ Getty Images

The four-day festival is called Wasteland Weekend, and saw over a thousand people in unique costumes travelling to an enclosed site in the Mojave Desert to take part. Specially built sets were erected for the entirety of the event, with costumes being compulsory to create an authentic immersive experience for all attendees. Festival goers were even encouraged to bring customised Mad Max: Fury Road style vehicles to the camp.

Festival goers replicate the War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road, complete with wasteland ready vehicle.
Festival goers replicate the War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road, complete with wasteland ready vehicle. Image by Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/ Getty Images
The Wasteland Weekend festival has a compulsory dress code in order to create a fully themed immersive experience for all attendees.
The Wasteland Weekend festival has a compulsory dress code in order to create a fully themed immersive experience for all attendees. Image by Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/ Getty Images

Founded in 2010, this year’s Wasteland Weekend also featured live music and DJs as well as performance art that included fire dancers, combat demonstrations, burlesque shows and post-apocalyptic themed games and contests. Wasteland merchants even had their wares on sale in the special “Bartertown”section of the site.

Crowds in a selection of customised outfits at Wasteland Weekend festival.
Crowds in a selection of customised outfits at Wasteland Weekend festival. Image by Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/ Getty Images
Some raiders make their way over the wasteland on a customised scooter.
Some raiders make their way over the wasteland on a customised scooter. Image by Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/ Getty Images

The festival had a selection of prizes for best-themed campsites and vehicles, while attendees could also form “tribes” with groups of people coming together with a similar look or identity for their costumes.