Through 100 hours and 30 degree nights, we made it out of Desert Hearts‘ 3 year anniversary at Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in Southern California spanning from November 5th till the 9th. This was the third year of the now infamous party nestled in between Coachella and San Diego and has been gaining praise and momentum since it’s conception. Although the cold was quite frigid at times during the wee hours of the night and mornings, it was by far one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had. Two of our writers, Fadi and Dillon, also made the journey to this year’s Desert Hearts Spring Edition and I never heard the end of it. This time, I had to see for myself. Where there was cold, there was also plenty of warmth by all those around to make up for any brief moments of shivering doubt.
We arrived around 12:30am on Friday morning to a crisp 36 degree evening. After being greeted at the gate and handed my passes, I could already sense that this was going to be a weekend for the books. Greeted by smiles and a certain warmthness in their eyes, the staff was more than welcoming and set the vibe perfectly upon first arrival to Desert Hearts. As many in attendance were already in party mode, camp was set up and my car proved to do the trick all weekend with my companion and about 10 blankets and 30 pillows for the perfect cuddle puddle till Monday afternoon. With camp set up, we embarked on our adventure.
The nights were filled with warmth from strangers, lovers, friends and everything in between. The days were filled with the most on point house music I’ve ever heard. With a perfectly executed lineup and scheduling, the music flowed beautifully and organically all weekend. Transitions between each DJ’s two hour sets seemed so fluid throughout and was beautifully unclear where a new set ended and another began. The slightest details are what makes great house music. The tech house and deep house sets were to perfection as was everyone’s choice of attire. Beautifully designed costumes and personalized clothing was the name of the game here and you could see the hours of creativity and love that went into each article of clothing. This was a very much needed breath of fresh air, as kids these days at “raves” seem to only care about impressing other people with the same musical taste as themselves with twerking, booty shorts and molly and not focusing on the music itself. Here at Desert Hearts, music, good vibes and smiling faces comes first and everything else is a by-product.
The music was carefully hand selected and organized in such a way that the entire weekend flowed perfectly. Mikey Lion and crew were responsible for the curation and scheduling of the lineup and planned everything to make sure the best possible variations and styles were fully maximized. From Marbs to Claude Von Stroke, the best in house and techno was represented and you can’t beat those DirtyBird beats. As the days turned into nights and nights into mornings, tech house and deep house thumped and bumped to not only take us where we needed to go but also keep us there till we needed to leave. Papa Bird aka Von Stroke threw down a techy and grimey set unlike I’ve ever seen him lay down and for two hours he had on a smile from ear to ear.
One of my other favorite aspects of Desert Hearts was the camping experience and set up. With an open concept much like Lighting in a Bottle and DirtyBird Campout, camping is made so much more less stressful. Being able to not worry about caravanning in with your group then waiting in long lines to go through checkpoints is essential. I can relatively compare my first Desert Hearts experience to that of my first Lightning in a Bottle experience earlier this year as well. With Desert Hearts being on such a drastically smaller scale than LIB, the vibes, energy, people and quality of music remained the same. And the mere fact that the music didn’t stop for 100 hours is still mind blowing. It just goes to show what can be accomplished with the right music, the right people, and the right location all coming together to form a unique community that plain and simple just “gets it”.
The thing that held everything together so beautifully was the smiles on everyone’s faces. Cold be damned, the warmth of those faces and smiles could have melted the Ice Age. The beautiful sun and crisp air ensured you were breathing in and out the most organic air possible. There was not one drop of bad energy to be found the entire weekend, no fighting and no arrests either. I truly feel it all comes down to the vibe, people and energy at an event, regardless how big or small. If you want to have a better experience and overall better way of life, it really does matter what events you go to and what you are looking for.
All in all, Desert Hearts was a smashing success. Everything that Desert Hearts is about was beautifully transformed into visual and heart warming experience. There are few who can pull off what they do on a consistent basis and the love that is shared and created is second to none. From witnessing the anomaly of a “missile test” on Saturday night to encountering some of the most genuine people I’ve come across, Desert Hearts stole my heart and I will be forever in love with the magic they have created.