Ride Shiny and Chrome at This ‘Mad Max’ Desert Festival

Friday October 18, 2019 Written by James

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If civilisation collapses and we’re all cast into a desert wilderness, riding hellish death-mobiles in desperate search of fresh water… our money is on these guys.

Presenting the latest project from Brighton-based photographer Joe Pettet-Smith: Anarchy Tamed. It documents the annual Mad Max-themed ‘Wasteland Weekend’ – an apocalyptic convention in the middle of the Mojave Desert, halfway between Hollywood and a now-defunct Cold War nuclear test site.


“During my research for a wider series called Preparations of the Worst-Case Scenario – a series that looks at media-induced paranoia and anxieties around the future – I spotted the festival,” Joe tells It's Nice That

It has to be said, Wasteland Weekend goes to great lengths to reproduce authentic, B-Movie costumes. Football helmets are transformed into skulls. People dye their entire bodies chalk-white. And everybody greats one another with a customary “Fuck you!” (Joe says it took some time to get used to this particular tradition.)


“The project was entirely self-funded, which meant that I ate from cans most days,” he says. “So the survival aspect, coupled with mandatory costumes and detailed set design really added to the ‘end-of-the-world’ feeling.”