You don’t have to wait for the world to end to break out your post-apocalyptic survival kit, ’cause we’ve compiled a list of some of the wildest dystopian festivals from around the world where you can fulfill all your Mad Max fantasies!
Imagine. The world as you know has come to an end. You are part of the very few survivors, but the rules of civilisation have changed. Things are different. The tight bonds of society have been broken to expose a raw side of humanity you have never seen before.
If the above sentences excited you, you are at the right place.
1. Burning Man
Where: Nevada, USA.
When: August 28-September 5
This has to be the first entry on this list. Burning Man was doing dystopian before it was cool. Every year, for nine days, a patch of the desert transforms into a dystopian scenery where revelers let out some of their rawest selves. People from all walks of life and all parts of the world head down here to be part of a surreal experience of community building. The community as a whole explores self expression in art and this is almost an underlying theme here. The festival features avant-garde post apocalyptic fashion, elaborate installations and insane music acts.
Where: Namakwa, South Africa
AfrikaBurn is the African cousin of the mammoth Burning Man and you would have to agree. The only difference would be that AfrikaBurn is much more intimate and spirited, compared to it’s American counterpart. The African edition attracts a much smaller, but younger amount of people to itself every year. But the dystopian environment is more than intact here. People celebrate the disconnect from the outside world more than anything by immersing themselves into the arts and creativity of the festival.
3. Wasteland Weekend
Where: Mojave Desert, South California
When: September 22-25
Now is there any surprise that the cult classic Mad Max series has inspired a hedonistic festival that best celebrates the futuristic theme, complete with the Thunderdome. Wasteland Weekend is the biggest post-apocalyptic festival and one that you cannot even think of missing. Here, nothing is too extreme. The location is decked up all kinds of post apocalyptic regalia, such as a broken hull of a ship long sunk. But the most important contribution to the festival is by the fans. Everyone is expected to dress up according to the theme and no one can look ‘clean’. Head down here for a complete Mad Max experience, think Mad Max cars, metal and leather fashion and really great eye make up.
4. Old Town
Where: Stargard Szczeciński, Poland
When: Decermber 18-24
Now this is exactly the kind of festival that the post-apocalyptic theme warrants for. Participants in the festival participate in a ‘larp’, which is ‘something like an improvised theatre, where every participant is an actor, director, make-up artist and a scriptwriter at the same time.’ Yup, that is exactly what it sounds like. As part of the larp, you make your way to a tiny settlement of survivors, who have managed to survive the nuclear war that ruined the world. The story is set in ‘Old Town’ which has its own historical and economical identity. Every player is the main character and you have the power to change the course of the future of the wasteland.
5. Further Future
Where: Beyond Vegas
Self described as ‘a new kind of music and lifestyle festival’, the festival aims to move past the confines of a traditional music festival. Further Future is not just about having a good time, it’s about bringing about social change in the world. Set in the deserts around Vegas, it aims to do away with the borders of society to give form to a new kind of thinking that can change the world. It also holds talks and seminars by entrepreneurs and visionaries from different fields. Also included are norm breaking musical and dance performances by niche artists.
6. Desert Hearts
Where: Los Coyotes Reservation, California
This is a festival with quite literally a little more heart. It celebrates the distance from outside world and reality in a different way, while maintaining a rather dystopian feel. Revelers are encouraged to let go and the entire festival is structured around the concept of One Stage, One Vibe. The festival sports a solitary stage, which also works as the nucleus for the community that is Desert Hearts. The festival fosters a feeling of semblance and community amongst the people, away from the modern bonds of society.
Where: Bratronice, Czech Republic
When: June 23-26
Now this is as hardcore as it gets. Junktown is a place where you go if you are extremely serious about your cosplay and post-apocalyptic fantasies. Junktown has been hailed as one of the most intensive dystopian festivals, where participants take the entire concept extremely seriously. And the result is absolutely fantastic. Men and women dressed in dark grunge garbs, roam around in cars re-modeled to look like they have been through three wars. The costumes here are brilliant in their detail. The festival also has a section dedicated to music and films, all based on the futuristic theme.