Desert Daze was nothing short of amazing. You can see why avid music fans are willing to face the heat to see their favorite artists and discover some new ones. They have found an algorithm to keep an indie festival fun, affordable, and exciting with class acts and friendly volunteers. They are able to maintain a feeling that this is a festival about the music that has a lot of heart. They even have their stages setup close enough to each other so that in between sets you’re still able to catch bits of the other headliners. You’re also likely to see a lot of familiar faces from socal venues including sound engineers from The Glasshouse and Echo/Echoplex. This is the type of crowd where strangers say hello and offer to buy you beverages and they even gave out fake moustaches!
This lucky attendee’s only wish was that she was able to have gotten to the festival earlier because their entire lineup from beginning to end is a strong one.. I still got there in time to see DIIV, Chelsea Wolfe, Dan Deacon, hear Minus the Bear, Warpaint, RJD2, and ask a volunteer a few questions for the inside scoop!
DIIV played a lot of tracks off their magically serene album Oshin including Doused. You could see as the crowd grew that they were gaining even more much deserved recognition. Everyone was in a good mood as the sun was drifting further down and the winds transported clouds of dust. You could even spot a robot/drone as their melodies filled the air. The sun hadn’t fully set and that was a great thing because soon it would be time for Chelsea Wolfe.
Chelsea Wolfe graced the stage with and illuminating presence as the magical hour approached and the sun set and the moon came into full view. As if that wasn’t supernatural enough the dust gusts danced with her whimsical, flowing dress as if to say, “Don’t ever stop making music just keep dancing and I will go along with the musical spectrum that your sounds create.” There were new tracks and old ones including House of Metal. Playing in the desert can provide technical difficulties but they worked through them and put on an amazing performance. Seriously can’t wait for her new album to drop!
As Dan Deacon was setting up you could clearly hear Minus the Bear in the distance and if you turned around could totally see part of the performance as well. They played stuff off of Planet Ice, Menos El Oso, and even They Make Beer Commercials Like This EP!!! I crossed my fingers in hopes of hearing Pachuca Sunrise before Dan wen on and was not disappointed to have my wish granted!!!
Ahhh, Dan Deacon. There is a reason that every time he plays in LA it is a sold out show and even then people line up hoping to get in. He knows how to get a crowd going and includes his sense of humor into his performance. There were technical difficulties in which he then began to make fun of apple. He kept the crowd moving and sharing energy in appreciation of the moon. The light rig was one of the most colorfully intense strobe type setups I have ever seen. It’s clear that Dan still knows how to and always will know how to have a good time and get everyone involved and into it too.
Warpaint is a band that never disappoints and clearly gives it their all for each and every show. They set the stage on fire with a radiant glow of talented musicians who were clearly happy to be there. As was the crowd. Winds that swirled clouds of dust around the crowd didn’t matter either. Everyone was there for the music. Not only are they a band who enjoys playing their music but also interacting with the crowd as well. They kept reaching out and holding hands, dancing with the crowd, and Theresa went crowd surfing to the joy of many fans. The lighting was perfect and accompanied with the dust set the perfect tone and atmosphere under the stars and moonlight from the desert sky. There entire set was filled with energy and every single song was a joy to watch. Part of the set included Bees, Composure, Biggy, Elephants, Undertow, Love Is To Die, and Set Your Arms Down. I’m still glowing reliving it in my head. Crowd interaction also includes taunting gleefully taunting the crowd. You can’t help but catch their happiness. That’s why I chose the photo of Theresa taunting the crowd after returning to the stage from crowd surfing it captures what this festival is about… music, fun, and being yourself.
RJD2 is a robotic wizard with the way he incorporates scratching into his eclectic catalog of tunes. It is always fun to watch a talented DJ perform and it is even more of a joy to be able to continuously dance with the flow of their entire set no matter how tired your legs are they are simply too inspired. It’s also great when a DJ has a sense of humor and chooses to do a fake out to close his set with the tiniest tidbit of Ghostwriter.
As people left you overheard continuously how amazing each person’s experience was. Of course this entire festival wouldn’t be possible without all of the hard working people behind the scenes including all of the volunteers that help this ship sail smoothly. I was able to ask a volunteer about their Desert Daze experiences and here’s what they said.
Zomb-E – How long have you been volunteering for Desert Daze?
Anon – This is my first year (2015)
Z – How have you seen the festival change over the years and where do you think it is going?
A – It’s grown as far as attendees and artists booked. As far as festivals go I see it as the next “mini” FYF. Whereas FYF is the “mini” Coachella.
Z – Some people call Desert Daze the Anti-Coachella, how do you feel about that?
A – I don’t believe Desert Daze to be an Anti-Coachella. Coachella is still for artist discovery, but with more capitalistic perspective.For instance, I’m sure both festivals would’ve booked Angel Olsen because that s***’s cool. I’d describe Desert Daze as the underground, underrated festival. There’s no comparison, they’re both in the festival business for music, it all depends on the goer and their perspective on what’s described as good music.
Z – What aspects of the festival have you participated in and which did you find the most interesting?
A – I’ve only done merchandise but I did see bits of media and how that works. I can’t pick which one I find more interesting because both feel like completely separate worlds within the same galaxy…
Z – What’s the weirdest Desert Daze story you’ve got?
A – If I’ve gotten a weird Desert Daze story, I can’t remember what it was.
Z – Who are some artists you’d like to see on the lineup for next year?
A – I don’t care who I’d see. I trust the guys at Moon Block to deliver an exciting lineup.
Z – Who were you able to catch this year?
A – I only caught Warpaint, a really small portion of RJD2 and an even smaller portion of Dan Deacon because I had work followed by volunteer work.
Z – What are must bring and recommended items for you?
A – Must brings are TP or baby wipes, hand sanitizer, bandana, sweater, and lots and lots of water. Maybe cash for food and drinks
Z – Is there anything else you think we should know about or would like to hear about Desert Daze?
A -.If you didn’t know it already, Desert Daze is musician run. The founders are a married couple and perform every event they throw.
Z – How do you think the festival could be even better than it already is?
A – Bathrooms. Definitely bathrooms.
Wonderful festivals like these are not possible without the collaborative effort of volunteers and artists alike. I’d like to thank all of the crew of Moon Block and the volunteers and artists for their time and dedication for putting so much work and love into it to make it a wonderful festival. Definitely looking forward to the next one!
-DJ Zomb-E, heard on KSPC every Saturday night from 9pm – 11pm.