Wasteland: The Mad Max Festival That Makes Burning Man Look Lame

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Slide: 1 / of 25 . Caption: The main gates are constantly flanked by War Boys and post-apocalyptic warriors. Vehicles in the car cruise drive through and make a slow loop through the camp as bystanders scurry out of the way. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 2 / of 25 . Caption: A Wastelander dressed as Immortan Joe from ‘Mad Max: Fury Road.’ A costume contest awards “best movie replica” and “best original costume” in both male and female categories. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 3 / of 25 . Caption: Over 300 DIY cars participated in Wasteland’s car cruise. People work for two to three years building the perfect ragged rig. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 4 / of 25 . Caption: A “jugger match” is a heady blend of rugby, fencing, and old-fashioned street brawling. Two teams fight over a cow skull. Small, fast runners known as “qwiks” race the skull to the other team’s goal. Large fighters known as “enforcers” try to intercept the qwiks with homemade weapons.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 5 / of 25 . Caption: A Wastelander dressed as Mad Max is chained to the front of Nux’s car before the cruise.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 6 / of 25 . Caption: Fighters tangle in the Thunderdome, built by a tribe known as Death Guild. The Thunderdome originated at Burning Man nearly 20 years ago, and was adopted by Wasteland. Fighters are strapped into acrobat harnesses tethered to bungee cords, then attack their opponent with weapons made of PVC pipe wrapped in foam. The most furious fighter is crowned the winner. There are no prizes — only glory.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 7 / of 25 . Caption: A Wastelander dressed as a ‘Mad Max’ gate guard, complete with a staff topped with a vintage microphone.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 8 / of 25 . Caption: A car competes in the remote control car death race. Contestants spend all year modifying their rigs. Cars race leap off makeshift ramps and around hairpin turns in an enormous cloud of dust, all while trying to crash into other cars. Many cars don’t make it to the finish line (or in one piece). Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 9 / of 25 . Caption: A pickup truck with a spiky bumper and skulls lines up for the cruise. Vehicles with particularly hazardous decor are dubbed “buzzard vehicles,” and required to park a safe distance away from camp to avoid accidents. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 10 / of 25 . Caption: A Wastelander dressed as a post-apocalyptic car whaler, complete with a giant harpoon to spear vehicles. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 11 / of 25 . Caption: Every inch of a Wasteland car is customized, including animal pelts, bones, and lots of ammunition. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 12 / of 25 . Caption: Not all Wasteland vehicles are cars or motorcycles. Dune buggies are common, as well as some more wacky rigs like this motorized Red Flyer wagon and sidecar. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 13 / of 25 . Caption: Some of Immortan Joe’s War Boys pose before the cruise. Many car bodies are attached to 4×4 truck frames to elevate the vehicle.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 14 / of 25 . Caption: Customized military uniforms are popular. This one features a hat with a troll doll head. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 15 / of 25 . Caption: Motorcycles line up for the cruise. Many riders wear skull helmets shaped like humans, cows, or birds.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 16 / of 25 . Caption: This rig is the fuselage of a Rockwell Commander airplane mounted to a car frame. The bumper is flanked with two 20mm gatling guns and a “cow catcher,” inspired by early cars in the 1880s. The car won “best in show.”Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 17 / of 25 . Caption: Robots known as “smashbotz” meet for combat in the Battle Cage.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 18 / of 25 . Caption: Most cars are stripped to the roll cage, then rusted or painted menacing colors. This vehicle has an extra level for multiple passengers.Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 19 / of 25 . Caption: A driver with a leather face mask sits in a Lone Wolf car from ‘Mad Max 2.’ The vehicle won “best replica.”Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 20 / of 25 . Caption: Vehicles line up before the cruise. Builders make every imaginable modification to their cars, motorcycles, and dune buggies. Front bumpers are frequently decorated with chains, spikes, skulls, animal hide, and harpoons. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 21 / of 25 . Caption: A Wastelander dressed as a crow poses in front of one of the tribe’s camps. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 22 / of 25 . Caption: Skulls are the ultimately accessory at Wasteland. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 23 / of 25 . Caption: A delivery van advertising toys and gifts in the car cruise. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 24 / of 25 . Caption: A Wastelander in a costume resembling one of Lord Humungus’ marauders balances on the back of a dune buggy before the cruise. Tod Seelie for WIRED

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Slide: 25 / of 25 . Caption: As the desert temperatures drop sharply, Wastelanders huddle around fires made in rusted containers, or else dance or battle in the Thunderdome to stay warm. Tod Seelie for WIRED