Gearing up for the 7th annual edition of Wasteland Weekend at the world’s first all-post-apocalyptic car show.

Since 2010,

Since 2010, thousands of end of the world devotees have converged in the Mojave Desert to attend Wasteland Weekend, a 4-day post-apocalyptic fully immersive Mad Max-style party near California City, CA.

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This was the first ever “Wasteland World Car Show” and it didn’t disappoint.

Held in the parking lot of Alpine Village (you know where

Held in the parking lot of Alpine Village, home to the oldest and largest Oktoberfest in Los Angeles, the event included multiple decked out vehicles…

...and lots of awesome Wasteland Weekenders in full head-to-toe apocalyptic gear.

…and lots of awesome Wastelanders in full head-to-toe apocalyptic gear.

Everyone was extremely friendly...

Everyone was extremely friendly…

...and

…and were more than happy to pose with the average folk who were there to check out the incredible vehicles and get a taste for what this post-apocalyptic world is all about.

As far as can be determined, the first ever Mad Max fan event held in the United States was Roadwar USA in 2004. Organized by Karol Bartoszynski, it involved Mad Max fans in replica vehicles cruising down California’s 101 freeway alongside an oil tanker. More Roadwar get-togethers followed, but what Karol and others really wanted was some kind of immersive Mad Max fan event in a desert environment.

The origins of Wasteland Weekend can be traced back to the first ever Mad Max fan event held in the United States. “Roadwar USA” was organized by Karol Bartoszynski in 2004. It involved Mad Max fans cruising down California’s 101 freeway alongside an oil tanker and vehicles inspired by the movie.

 Roadwar get-togethers continued over the years and in 2009 an event promoter from the pirate fan community who went by the name Scarlett Harlott stepped forward onto the Mad Max scene, providing the “let’s just do it!” inspiration that ultimately made a Mad Max desert event happen. Karol quickly got involved with the organization of what became Road Warrior Weekend. It was a small event, but undeniably fun, and it provided the proof of concept for a much larger vision.

Roadwar get-togethers continued over the years and in 2009 an event promoter from the pirate fan community, Scarlett Harlott stepped forward and made a Mad Max desert event happen. Karol soon joined forces with the organization to create “Road Warrior Weekend,” a small, but undeniably fun event that provided the proof of concept for a much larger vision.

That first event in 2009 had been billed as a one-time event but the seed had been planted and a small group of attendees began serious discussions for the continuation of the idea – before the weekend was even over.

That first event in 2009 had been billed as a one-time event but the seed had been planted and a small group of attendees began serious discussions for continuing the event in the future.

These fellow attendees were Jared Butler (who had worked with Karol on creating fake radio broadcasts for Road Warrior Weekend) and James Howard (a veteran of San Diego nightclub promoting and later founder of Outer Zone Overnights aka OZO). Together they set their sights on 2010 for their own Mad Max desert festival.

Two attendees, Jared Butler and James Howard, took the reigns and set their sights for their own Mad Max desert festival in 2010.

Joined by other RWW veterans they set out to create something that had never been done before: A fully-immersive fan event that would really feel like living inside a movie.

Joined by other RWW veterans they set out to create something that had never been done before: A fully-immersive fan event that would really feel like living inside a movie.

Wasteland Weekend was the result. A desert festival based heavily on the Mad Max films, but incorporating other iconic pieces of post-apocalyptic pop culture. The 2010 event attracted around 400 people, as well as media attention. They even received a video greeting from George Miller, director of the Mad Max films, who sent along a sneak peak from the pre-production of Mad Max: Fury Road in Australia.

In 2010 their vision became a reality, Wasteland Weekend would be heavily influenced by the Mad Max films along with post-apocalyptic pop culture.

That first year The 2010 event attracted around 400 people, as well as media attention. They even received a video greeting from George Miller, director of the Mad Max films, who sent along a sneak peak from the pre-production of Mad Max: Fury Road in Australia.

That first year was only attended by about 400 people but by 2011 the event nearly doubled in size.

2011 The 2011 event nearly doubled in size and included large new set pieces such as the iconic Wasteland Gates, as well as the now familiar layout that separated a completely themed “Wasteland City” from a less-strictly enforced camping and parking area for those attendees who may have had their costumes ready, but did not possess fully-themed cars or campsites.

2011 was also the first year that the iconic “Wasteland Gates” were used, which separated the completely themed “Wasteland City” from the less-strictly enforced camping and parking area for those attendees who may have had their costumes ready, but did not possess fully-themed cars or campsites.

Perhaps most importantly, 2011 introduced the “tribe” concept. The first de facto tribe had been a group of teammates playing Jugger (a post-apocalyptic version of armed football/rugby, based on a cult 80s movie) and camping together at WW2010. Now, tribes became an officially-encouraged aspect of the event, and fans ran with the concept; one notable tribe from 2011 were the “Last Chancers” who began operating their “wasteland casino” that year.

The “tribe” concept was also launched in 2011 which has become an officially-encouraged aspect of the event.

The following years saw more growth, and more spectacle, as attendees began to unveil campsites, vehicles, and costumes that they had worked on for years, inspired by their first visits to the annual gathering. In fact, by 2014 there were over 100 custom-made vehicles driven out to the event, from all over the continent. The live music aspect of the event began to come into its own as well, with a full lineup of bands playing on a custom-built Wasteland main stage in both 2013 and 2014. Other ongoing fixtures of the Wasteland Weekend environment also emerged over the years, including the car cruises, bounty hunting games, bonfire dance pit, film festival, fire spinning area, post office, RC car battles, the wasteland-makeover beauty parlor known as the Body Shop, and more.

The event has continued to grow each year with more lavish campsites, vehicles, and costumes.

by 2014 there were over 100 custom-made vehicles driven out to the event, from all over the continent.

By 2014 there were over 100 custom-made vehicles driven out to the event, with some of those on display at Saturday’s car show.

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I've been interested in Wasteland Weekend for awhile now, so it was nice to be able to walk around and talk to some of the people that attend the event each year.

I’ve been interested in Wasteland Weekend for awhile now, so it was nice to be able to walk around and talk to some of the people that attend the event each year.

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...and lots of awesome Wasteland Weekenders in full head-to-toe apocalyptic gear.

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So will I become a Wastelander? Probably. I really enjoyed everything I saw at the car show and can totally seeing myself joining a tribe, making some gear and spending some more quality time with these amazing creative people in the desert.

So will I end up becoming a full fledged Wastelander? Probably. I really enjoyed everything I saw at the car show and can totally see myself joining a tribe, making some kick ass gear and spending some more quality time with these amazing creative people in the desert. Wasteland Weekend 2016 will take place September 22 – 25, 2016. Visit their website or facebook page for more information.