Viral country star Oliver Anthony among those ‘trapped’ at Burning Man amid flooding chaos

Oliver Anthony, the country artist behind the viral hit “Rich Men North of Richmond”, is apparently among those stranded at Burning Man festival in Nevada.

The annual arts festival has been plunged into chaos after rare, severe rains flooded the Black Rock Desert, leaving behind thick mud, which has grounded vehicles.

More than 70,000 “Burners”, as the festival’s attendees are referred to, were urged to hunker down and conserve supplies.

Anthony, 31, was scheduled to be interviewed by the socialist political journal Midwestern Marx on Sunday (3 September); however, in a live stream, its presenters said the singer was “trapped” at Burning Man.

“Our man Oliver Anthony has been trapped in the flooding at Burning Man, this is what he told us over email,” one of the show’s three hosts explained.

“Oliver’s representative told us that he’ll be out there for at least another day. So honestly, right now, we’re mostly just concerned with his safety and hopefully he can make it out of this situation safe and then we can reschedule the interview for a different time.”

The Independent has contacted Anthony’s representatives for comment.

Previously an obscure figure on the country music scene, Anthony shot to fame in recent weeks after his new single was described as a “right-wing anthem”.

The song, which sees Anthony rail against politicians, “welfare cheats” and taxes, has spent two consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It has been praised by prominent Republican figures such as Kari Lake and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

In a recent interview on The Joe Rogan Experience, Anthony said it was “really funny” to watch people speculate about his political views.

Oliver Anthony (Oliver Anthony Music/YouTube)
Oliver Anthony (Oliver Anthony Music/YouTube)

He added: “It was funny seeing my song at the [Republican] presidential debate, because I wrote that song about those people, you know. So for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up. It was funny seeing the response to it.”

Over the weekend, Chris Rock and Diplo were among those to escape Burning Man after trekking “five miles” through the mud. The DJ, 44, shared a video of the two riding in the back of a fan’s pickup truck who had picked them up in a drier part of the desert.

The annual event, which closes each year with the torching of a 40-foot effigy, has become a pilgrimage of sorts for those who want to leave the trappings of modern life behind and participate in an experiment in temporary community.

The scenes at Burning Man this year have been compared to those at Fyre Fest, the 2017 festival that notoriously left attendees stranded in the Bahamas.

What was promised to be “deluxe housing” actually turned out to be disaster relief tents, and attendees were served soggy cheese sandwiches. Many of the musical acts didn’t turn up, and ticketholders were left stuck on the island.

Follow along here for live updates from Burning Man 2023.