Desert Hearts Spring 2016 Spreads Love, Consciousness, and House

April 7, 2016 -

Fadi AbuZaineh

It is hard to believe that only a year ago, we stumbled upon the gathering of beautiful souls and art known as Desert Hearts. Our first two experiences were nothing short of magical, and we are still buzzing from this past weekend's shenanigans. From the nonstop music to the seemingly endless boutique camps, art, and workshops, there is not a single second of boredom upon entering these grounds. Desert Hearts has definitely earned a spot in all of our hearts as a go to destination for a carefree, lovable, and soulful festival experience.

Cover shot by Get Tiny


We arrived late the first night to see that there were already a lot more people attending the festival than previously. This was not an issue in any way, but it made us happy to see that there were more spirits making the trip out to Los Coyotes Indian Reservation to bask in the endless fun that was to come.

We were welcomed with a sign that read "Turn Around Desert Hearts Cancelled!!" which of course was a clever April Fools joke. It was nice to be greeted with jokes and laughter, compared to the standard mean mugs of security guards that we have become accustomed to at festivals. The music was already bumping throughout the trees, and we were ecstatic to set up camp and venture into the hub of the festival as soon as possible. The open camping format and central location of the stage made it convenient and easy to find your groove, whether it was up on stage with the DJ, on top of the speakers, or if you were close enough, at your campground.


Conner Lee Coughenour Photography

Throw away the concept of a multi-staged, multi-genre, and big named music festival and you're left something simple that can sustain itself in a unique way. This is what we found here at Desert Hearts. Non-stop house music meant that you did not have to pace yourself out for the headliner nor did you get that urge to explore another stage. When you were in the music you were in it and there was nowhere else to go. The feeling of being exactly where you needed to be was apparent when stepping onto the dance floor. No matter what you were doing, you could always trust that the four-on-the floor beat would be there when you needed it for as long as you wanted.

This does not mean that the DJ's were not a factor to consider though. The Desert Hearts crew always brings the best from their own libraries as well as their label. Sets from Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Porkchop, and Marbs all provided the perfect groovin vibes. Having consistent 2 hour sets throughout the festival created an ample platform to play out full techno and house tracks without the worries of getting bored or having to transition abruptly.

It would not be out of place to call Desert Hearts a true house and techno heaven.


Conner Lee Coughenour Photography


Another very important staple of the culture at Desert Hearts was the abundance of flow artistry. Seeing people play with staves, hoops, fans, rope darts, and poi added to the aesthetic quality of the event. We were also treated to a showcase of fire spinners (and spitters) on Saturday night. Seeing them fearlessly handle their props while they were on fire was not only amazing but also inspiring. Flowing is much like yoga or tai chi, where it takes intense focus and can help you gain better control of your mind, body and spirit. So it only makes perfect sense that this kind of art is encouraged and displayed at a festival like this.


Get Tiny

The workshops and spiritual healing courses offered at the festival are also key to having a full experience at Desert Hearts. We attended a sacred geometry workshop where the speaker drew the flower of life into the dirt. It was a very fulfilling and eye opening experience. Other workshops that were offered included improv comedy, sound healing, and Shamballa meditation.


Conner Lee Coughenour Photography


During this weekend we immersed ourselves in a collective energy that radiated positivity throughout Desert Hearts. Everyone here acted as a community in a sense that we were unselfish and free giving to the strangers around us as well as to the environment that we lived on. The reuse of beverage containers was highly encouraged and proper disposal of trash and recycling could not be ignored. It seemed as though no matter how much we looked within ourselves we could not deny the impact that we make as humans therefore it was our job to leave this campground more beautiful than how we found it. Every person and their actions made a difference on the Desert Hearts experience and the idea of a community became more apparent through every interaction.


Conner Lee Coughenour Photography

When it comes to a festival like this we couldn't tell you that there were some huge surprise guests nor could we admit that we camped at the rails for a bass heavy artist who blew everyone's minds by dropping an RL Grime track (although that does sound extremely lit). Instead we discovered an entire colony of loving festival goers who have a different approach to the concept of camping with music. Here there was no need for a VIP  section that told this person that he isn't as good as that person, because every single Desert Hearts wristband said VIP. There was also no boundaries between the DJs and the audience, if you loved that set than it wouldn't take much to give the artist some feedback. Cut out all of these restrictions that major music festivals have to put around their talent and you're left with something more pure, simple, and beautiful. Being in Desert Hearts was like being in a utopia of good vibes and what do you do when you get infected by this positivity?

You vibrate.



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