It was a beautiful weekend to hold a gathering. What kind of gathering, you may ask? Well, imagine people coming from all directions to attend a festival with unique qualities such as spiritual healing, a well connected community, and 72 hours of nonstop house music. Yes, you read that right, the music started from noon on Friday March 27th, all the way to 4pm on Monday March 30th. But that is the base of a festival that had so much more to offer than just the music.
This past weekend, fellow DB writer Fadi and I took the journey up to Los Coyotes Indian Reservation to check out what Desert Hearts Spring Festival had to offer, and we were beyond amazed. Our time and experience was transformational to say the least, and since we are both experienced in the local rave and music festival scene (having been to Coachella, Insomniac and HARD events in the last years), we had no idea this would leave such an impression on us. Upon entering, we already felt the welcoming vibe (and the beats playing from the stage).
After setting up camp we cracked open a few beers and began to let the realization that we were in such a magical place set in. There was something oddly apparent that these grounds where we were to spend our weekend were alive, and welcoming us with open arms. A few minutes, and a couple of beers later we met our camping neighbor Detour, who was dressed in custom pants a furry vest, and riding on top of a custom made fuzzy motorized surfboard with stuffed monkeys hanging on to the handle bars. It was in that moment that we exchanged hugs and hellos as if we were old friends that we knew we were in for a weekend that neither of us had ever experienced before.
We wrapped up things at camp eager to explore all the things that Desert Hearts had to offer letting the sound of the music guide our journey towards the pulsing heart of the festival. With so much to see we had the idea to see the stage last because we figured with the music going nonstop for the next couple days we should definitely experience the art, the vendors, and the people before we made our way to the dance floor.
I’ve never been to a music festival that welcomed man’s best friend to the party, and it was an unexpected but welcomed touch. As we continued with our walk with the stage coming into view, and we noticed a large area devoted to artists painting towards the back part of the dance floor. It was very clear that at Desert Hearts that all forms of art are on equal footing.
As we traveled along the grounds of the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, the artists’ area gave way to the vendors’ village, which, in their own right, should be considered artists too. Each vendor possesses their own unique style that showcased who they were and what they stood for in what they designed and sold. As I was walking, the money in my wallet began to burn a hole in my pocket, but with limited funds and so many great creations available to purchase (from custom sunglasses to jewelry to apparel to accessories, it was going to be tough just narrowing my selection down to a couple things I wanted to take home with me. With the sun high in the sky and the sweat rolling down my neck, I was suddenly drawn to a group of people wearing some of the most intricate and beautiful hoods/scarves that I have ever seen. I decided instantly that I had to buy one, right there on the spot, so we walked up to the booth and were greeted by some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They instantly made Fadi and myself feel like family from the moment we walked up to their booth, and as a matter of fact we spent good portion of our weekend partying and sharing stories with these amazing people. These wonderful souls I speak of are known as the Cosmic Soul Tribe, and the name of their company/brand is Stardust Love. Upon reading their mission statement, (“Our mission at Stardust Love is to awaken souls to realize their destiny and empower spirit warriors with the gift of alchemy, the ability to change their surroundings using love, light, energy and magic. We are all one. We are infinite. We are all Stardust Love.”), and thinking about all the people that I had met, and things that I had seen so far that day, is when Desert Hearts’ collective vibe, intention, and energy made perfect sense. Desert Hearts is the accumulation of a handful of next level DJ’s and producers that combined to form an event production team that has also launched their own self-titled record label, Desert Hearts Records. Their inner circle and extended family embody the celebration of the collective human spirit, expressed through an abundance of love and unity, all flowing to the same elevated vibe (with a most excellent soundtrack!). So, naturally, I bought two ‘Cosmic Hoods/Scarves’, and once I donned my first Stardust Love piece and was knighted into the Cosmic Soul Tribe, I didn’t want to take it off for the rest of the weekend; it honestly felt like it became a part of me. The inside of the hood was made with a gold-colored fabric that was soft to the point of luxurious, and the secret hidden pocket which provides a little ‘stash spot’ nearby to their black designer label (my favorite feature!) is a great addition. Arguably, however, the most aesthetically-pleasing feature of my new ‘Cosmic Couture’ hood/scarf was its exterior, which has two-way ‘reversible’ or ‘flip’ sequins so that with the swipe of your hand, you can moderately or drastically alter the appearance of your new masterpiece (multiple festival-goers had drawn or transcribed a custom image or message for everyone to see!). I love my Stardust Love cosmic hoods and hereby declare them a must for the rest of festival season 2015! I look forward to obtaining an impressive collection of their innovative cosmic designs and encourage you to do the same. You can check out Stardust Love’s Facebook page here, their instagram (@stardustloveofficial), and you can grab yourself one (or several) off of their website here. Share your shine!
The best part about meeting people at this event had to be the diverse lives they all lived outside of the festival. We met people who’ve made the journey out from Colorado, Texas, and even New York to this smaller festival just for the experience. A lot of the attendees we met were also Burners, which is the name for veterans of the ultimate annual experience, Burning Man. The main quality that all of these festival goers possessed though, was the immediate love for one another, whether they were newly acquainted or long time friends. We were always greeted with hugs, and open ears to the stories we had to tell. You were literally able to walk up to any person at any campsite, booth or the stage and have a conversation about anything and everything. That is something you don’t find very often
After surviving the absolutely frozen tundra that was the first night, the sun’s rays began to dance in over the tops of the mountains surrounding the forest while BLOND:ISH dropped an absolutely perfect sunrise set that had the entire dance floor grooving for three straight hours to welcome in the new day. This was the first time that I spent time at the stage all weekend, and I jokingly turned to Fadi and said, “Did you know there was music here too?” The dance floor even came equipped with its own LED party keg that all were free to drink from. The Desert Hearts stage was a fest for the eyes with its organized chaos, and the heart shape disco ball that really stole the show when the sun went to sleep. There was so much detail put into this temple of music that it took my breath away when I first saw it.
With Saturday now in full swing and our ears and hearts ringing with love and music we decided it was time to walk back to camp for a little breakfast. We shared a breakfast of fruit and pop tarts with our neighbor Pineapple and a couple of girls who stumbled into our camp looking for where they had set up theirs. After our breakfast we were again joined by Detour and his friend Mikey B, who told us about a campsite by the name of Wench Toast that was serving up french toast and mimosas to anyone who was hungry and/or thirsty. (granted you had to bring a plate and cup) Fadi and I made our way to the other side of the festival with plates and cups in hand ready to share in the food and festivities this camp had to offer.
When we arrived at the camp site it was clear that these guys were a hit with the Desert Hearts family. There was deep house music pumping from the speakers, and dude dressed in full pirate gear manning the griddle of crispy golden brown slices of French Toast, and another making the waiting crowd mimosas. After grabbing our fill I headed back to camp to catch some sleep before the Desert Hearts DJs went on at 6pm. After waking up from my rest I headed down to the dance floor to meet up with Fadi and some friends, and spent a good solid three hours getting down the beautiful music of Deep Jesus and Marbs. After the dance marathon we decided it was once again time to roam around the festival and we stumbled upon the Live in Love Lounge. In this lounge there was soup, hot chi tea, and a healthy amount of heat to recharge any cold tired festival traveler. They even had a hand held floor buffer to give the best massages you could find at any festival.
When we returned to the dance floor we were greeted with a healthy dose of fire! The fire performers had begun their rhythmic flow with the most beautiful and dangerous of all the elements. The performers all took turns flowing with their tool of choice, and it inspired me enough to buy a dragon staff of my own when I got home. I had never really seen a performance like this before, and in my opinion the best part was that each person flowed with the same fire. As one artist would finish and recede back into the crowd they would transfer the flame from their tool to the new performer’s tool in an act of love and unity.
Once the fire was extinguished the night continued on the dance floor where it seemed like the music got better as the seconds passed. From Porkchop, Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, and Shaded I just could not pull myself away from the deepness that was being thrown my way; that was until I decided it was time for breakfast. On my way back to camp I ran into my friend Andy Bear from Stardust Love and he asked me to help he carry a few things out to the dance floor. Armed with breakfast supplies and a jug of Mexican margaritas we made our way to the dance floor, where there was a cook top set up on a fold out table with a dude cooking bacon not for himself, but for anyone who wanted a piece. There is no other place that I’ve been to where you can enjoy a sexy sunrise set, while cooking yourself and everyone around you breakfast infused with love and house. The rest of my day was spent on the dance floor listening to Atish, Mark Slee, Kevin Anderson, Justin Jay (my personal favorite), and Monkey Safari. Unfortunately neither Fadi nor I could stay all the way until Monday, as we started school the next day, but Desert Hearts definitely left an impression on us that we carried back down the mountain and into our daily lives. By putting the human experience at the forefront of their festival Desert Hearts created an environment where one can be themselves with no fear of judgment or ridicule. The people really made that festival what it was, and we can’t begin to thank Desert Hearts for welcoming us into their family last weekend, and we will never forget the memories we made dancing under the stars, watching the sunrise, laughing with new friends, sharing personal experiences, howling at the moon, trying to find our dads, and loving unconditionally. See you in November Desert Hearts Fam.
Recorded live sets can be found soon on Desert Hearts Record’s SoundCloud