‘World’s largest post-apocalyptic festival’ sees Mad Max fans return to desert

Thousands of Mad Max fans will descend onto a California desert this week for the return of Wasteland Weekend.

Event organisers call it ‘the world’s largest post-apocalyptic festival’ where end of the world costumes are mandatory.

The immersive festival was inspired by the Mad Max film series and aims to mimic dystopian society.

Fans will have to fork out around $245 (around £180) to spend the five days in the Mojave Desert – located close to a defunct Nuclear test site used during the Cold War.

In 2019, 4,000 revellers turned up in torn fishnets, leather undies and tatty cotton clothing before a costume contest picked out the best dressed.

The wild festival has been running for 10 years yet was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

But what is on the agenda for its return and how will Covid-19 impact things?

Car rides

Thrill seekers can head to the ‘Dogs Of War’ camp to take a ride in the replica cars from Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior .

Attendees can even bring their own themed vehicle to cruise around the desert with.

There will also be a 'Death Race' as “remote-controlled emissaries of mechanized mayhem” battle it out in a no holds-barred demolition race.

Sporting activities

Those eager for activities can take part in archery tournaments or shoot arrows at an archery range.

There will even be a ‘Post-Apocalyptic Swimsuit Contest’ on the main stage.

The website states: “In the shadow of the Waterworld-themed Trading Outpost 364, Wastelanders design and display outfits that harken back to when the world had enough water to take for granted.

“We hear if you get near the front rows, the smokers might toss out some cigarettes, not to mention a generous splash of Aqua Cola.”

Live Music

Throughout the five days there will be live music from DJs and heavy metal bands.

Musicians who will be belting out the tunes include DJ CorpseToe and the group Dead Animal Assembly Plant.


Once it gets dark – there will be an area designated for fire spinning.

Performances will be held while fans can also practice and learn how to fire spin safely.

Film festival

If that all sounds a bit too hectic, festival goers can kick back and go to the Wasteland Film Festival.

There, new post-apocalyptic shorts will be screened so people can get even more immersed with an end of the world atmosphere.

The Juggers

A three-day tournament of “bloody, glorious, football played with a dog skull” called the Jugger will also return.


A brand new feature this year is the Hotel Sasswood camp where a cabaret show will be performed.

The website teases: “Dolly Mama is going to take you on a journey. Be ready to go on a wild ride, Mama will take care of you.”

There will also be a casino that uses special bottle caps as currency, missions, bounty huntings, marketplaces and crafting workshops for people to enjoy.

Speaking after the last festival, one of the founders, Jared Butler, told Mojave Desert News: “When you’re out there and everything looks different, you do get this sense of escape, that’s one of the things people gravitate to about the event.”


Those attending must be fully vaccinated and be able to show proof.

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of the festival starting, or you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, you will not be allowed to attend.

You are also asked not to go if you have experienced symptoms 48 hours prior to the event.

Attendees are also banned if they have travelled to a country subject to travel or quarantine restrictions 14 days prior.

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