Organizers of the Burning Man festival confirmed that the Nevada-based event has some uninvited guests this year — a massive mosquito infestation, Business Insider reported.
“What’s going on? We don’t know. We don’t know how the little critters survive in the heat and the sun,” John Curley wrote in the festival blog. “All we know is that if you pick up some wood, you’re likely to uncover hundreds or thousands of the things. They’ve blown up inches deep against the sides of the Commissary tent. They’ve covered the carpets at the Depot. They’re all over the Man Base. So it’s not a localized occurrence, it’s everywhere.”
Though the event does not start until Aug. 30, photos showing the extent of the infestation have already been posted online, as seen below:
— EDM Sauce (@EDMsauce) August 19, 2015
— Quartz (@qz) August 19, 2015
— Bryan Warner (@BryanWarner775) August 19, 2015
— Champagne Lounge (@CLoungebrc) August 18, 2015
According to Curley, festival officials believe the bugs were either hatched early after a rash of rain in the area during the spring and summer, or brought in when they “hitchhiked on a load of wood.”
“We’ve been blessed by fair skies so far during the build,” he wrote. “For the first time in the past several years, there’s been no rain or lightning or hail or high winds to bring things to a crawl. But maybe we are making our way around the various plagues, and this year it’s time for pestilence.”
KNTV-TV identified the bugs as mosquitos, adding that organizers are determining whether they pose a health threat to festival goers
As the event grapples with the plague, music site Less Than 3 reported that, according to CEO Marian Goodell, she is looking “longingly” toward perhaps moving the event to Utah, citing a 9 percent entertainment tax levied against Burning Man under Nevada law.
“We still believe that we don’t fit under a form of entertainment,” she said during a recent podcast interview. “Frankly, we’re not a Las Vegas show. We’re not a car race or a concert in a stadium.”
Goodell argued that the event is not a festival, saying that for many people, that label “now means stages and food vendors and having your comforts more taken care of. We’re definitely not interested in providing a typical festival atmosphere.”
She also criticized the event being limited to 68,000 participants, as ordered by the federal Bureau of Land Management.
“That’s not something we’re doing willingly,” she said.