Walking Through a Desert Hearts Crowd – A Familiar Portal

Walking Through a Desert Hearts Crowd – A Familiar Portal

Walking Through a Desert Hearts Crowd – A Familiar Portal

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Wrapping up its annual spring festival, the dust of Desert Hearts is finally settling as attendees reflect on the experience.

Photos & words by: Lizzie Rose


Cars are unpacked, steam rises from long indulgent post festival showers, and life begins to return back to normal. What doesn’t fade so easily, is the energy and inspiration that results from that special patch of wilderness on Los Coyotes reservation. 

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

Walking through a Desert Hearts dance floor feels like a familiar portal, a swirl of color and energy that is unique in its enthusiasm.

It is a whirlwind of textiles, sparkles, smiles, and motion. One stage is the heart of the event, as a milling crowd spreads out throughout the different theme camps scattered around the venue. Theme camps include Bright People, Pile Palace, Soul Palace, and more. 

A walk through the grounds and festival goers can come across anything from a technicolor rocking horse to a shiftpod full of NYSYNC memorabilia or Lisa Frank merchandise. The grounds are decorated by light up pineapple art cars, a blackjack table, art pieces, live artists painting and creating onsite, and colorful clothing and accessory vendors. 

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

Not only does Desert Hearts maintain a consistently well crafted house and techno lineup, but the stage where the DJ is playing is inclusive and inviting- where there is no VIP, everyone gets to be important.

Musical highlights included Popof, DJ Tennis, Shaded, Justin Campbell, a four hour Marbs B2B Evan Casey set, Tara Brooks, Cut Snake, and of course the Desert Hearts crew.

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

The sun set to dark beats each day and rose to uplifting and funky tones inviting new energy.

The second wind of the sunrise revitalizes the crowd each morning and brings the energy throughout the day, as the music doesn’t stop once it turns on Friday afternoon. Three full days of consistent music creates a 72 hour symphony of moods. 

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

The stage itself is a work of art, slightly changing each year but always adorned with it’s giant rotating disco heart. The stage is such a beautiful symbol of the culture Desert Hearts has created and grown over the last few years. It is a woven masterpiece of wood and color, and the lighting team does an incredible job of creating different moods as purples, yellows, blues, and beyond bounce off of the textured layers. 

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

A walk down Vendor row shows the carefully curated selection curated by The Glitter Spies, with men’s and women’s fashion decorating one long walkway.

Desert Hearts as a whole is a beautiful experiment in fashion – the heart of the festival fashion scene in many ways. A fashion show lights up the middle of the dancefloor every year, giving the vendors an additional opportunity to showcase their designs on a diverse group of models.

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

One thing magnificent about the festival fashion scene of Desert Hearts is the willingness of the men in the community to experiment and try new things. Where a man may be uncomfortable embracing more creative fashion, he is right at home in mismatched patterns and vibrant colors on the Desert Hearts dance floor. The people of Desert Hearts are beautiful for their unique humility, energy, and style. 

Desert Hearts 2019
Desert Hearts 2019, Photo by: Lizzie Rose

Lastly, much of the magic of the festival lies in the lack of cellular service onsite. Signs throughout the venue encourage festival goers to live in the moment and enjoy the space without using their phones. The increased presence energetically creates a space where things happen almost synchronistically- intuition and inspiration are heightened and the experience is unique and unparalleled.

If you didn’t make it onto the res this year, you can attend one of the Desert Hearts Crew’s many takeovers throughout the year.

Until next time, we are all Desert Hearts. 

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Kris Hi there! Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sights and Sounds. Been doing this music writing thing for most my life in one way or another and loving every opportunity it's brought along. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions for the website, comments, or if you just want to chat. Cheers!