When someone tells you they’re going to spend 5 days in the Mojave Desert at a “Mad Max” themed festival, you just smile and nod, right? Who in their right mind would want to escape their normal day, wear scavenged torn and tattered clothing, and drive batshit crazy hulking cars and motorcycles in the middle of nowhere? Not to mention, live bands, DJs, every possible manner of bar and entertainment you can imagine?!
Okay, the more we think about it, the more we absolutely want to go to Wasteland Weekend.
2021 marked the 11th year for the world-famous fully themed (EVERYONE needs to be in costume) post-apocalyptic music and arts festival, and what a year it was. Originally set to happen in 2020, the pandemic obviously changed things.
“We were determined to not have to take another year off,” co-owner and Event Director Jared Butler said. “So, we did what we needed to do to plan ahead in a very uncertain festival climate.”
Part of those plans included making 2021’s Wasteland Weekend a fully-vaccinated event, which at the time was a bold move. The majority of other outdoor events were allowing proof OR a negative covid test, but Wasteland opted to hold fast to full vaccination requirements for all staff, volunteers, and attendees.
“We had to make a decision in the Spring of 2021 and stick with it. So we went with an admission standard that was very strict at that time, especially for a relatively small outdoor event,” co-owner and Chief Of Operations Adam Chilson said. “But by the time our event rolled around, the variant had forced many other events to do the same.”
According to an official press release, attendance was 3,200 participants in 2021, down slightly when compared with their peak of 4,300 in 2019. But hopes are high that another sold-out event is likely in 2022.
“We’re just so happy to be back,” Butler said. “Wasteland Weekend has always been about survival in a fictionalized, Hollywood-style post-apocalyptic world. This year especially, our survival as an event was very real. Coming back this year was a celebration, the return of an event that means so much to so many people.”
Some highlights from 2021’s event (which are constantly being updated), courtesy of Wasteland Weekend’s photography staff:
Photos from 2021’s event absolutely showcase the vast amount of talent, creativity, and attention to detail on display at the 5-day festival. You’d be honestly hard-pressed to tell the difference at times between Wasteland Weekend, and behind-the-scenes images from big budget Hollywood blockbusters.
Chilson explained, “The people who were here this year, really WANTED to be here, they made that clear with an incredible amount of creative work they put into their private camps and structures. We were blown away at how enthusiastically people stepped up to bring this whole make-believe world back even better than before.”
“We’re definitely back in a big way” added Butler, “with a lot of momentum to build off of going into 2022.”
Wasteland Weekend will be introducing an all new event in the spring of 2022, NEOTROPOLIS, which is a cyberpunk themed sister event to their original festival, which will also be returning in the fall of 2022. We’ll let you know when dates and ticket sales get announced Wasteland 2022.
You can check out more about Wasteland Weekend on their official website here, and on their official Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.