[The Audiofiles] The Road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is Paved with House, Techno and a Whole Lot of Love

Over the last five years, Southern California’s Desert Hearts troupe has blossomed from a homegrown hub of House and Techno into a global party sensation. After taking the Fall season off this year, much to the dismay of Desert Hearts fanatics all over – Desert Hearts is proud to announce their triumphant return to the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation from March 31 to April 3, 2017.

Playing host to an intimate number of attendants, the festival is capped at 3,500 and the warm, bubbly ethos that the size of the event curates is delightfully palpable. Between the various Desert Hearts virgins and assorted Desert Hearts vets, the weekend is as much a festival as it is a family reunion…with the grooviest soundtrack on the West Coast. Musical tastemakers to grace the decks have included Tiefschwarz, DJ Harvey, Monkey Safari, Rodriguez Jr., DJ T, Claude VonStroke, Marc Houle, Olivier Giacomotto, Mark Henning, M.A.N.D.Y, alongside the usual suspects – Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs and Porkchop.

The road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is paved with House and Techno from coast to coast as the squad heads out on their 21 tour date City Hearts Winter Tour. The mobile micro-festival vibe will takeover premiere festivals in previously unexplored markets for the burgeoning brand including Brazil’s Som & Sol Festival, Costa Rica’s Ocaso Festival, Tucson’s Gem and Jam, plus return trips to Brooklyn, Denver, Miami, Salt Lake City, its prized home turf of Los Angeles and San Diego, and many more standout shows.

Tickets for the highly anticipated and long awaited Spring 2017 Edition of Desert Hearts go on sale Tuesday, December 6th at 12 PM PST.

RSVP on Facbook and Rally Your Squad | Snag Tickets Here!

For more on the Desert Hearts squad and their upcoming roster of events, head to their social media channels –

Website | Facebook| Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram

[The Audiofiles] Celebrate 3 Years of House, Techno and Love as the Dirtybird Crew Heads to Desert Hearts

In the past year, the Desert Hearts team has taken the dance music world by storm. Between a record label that’s more interested in creating a melodic mood than making money, an iconic club event that catalyzed into this year’s “Summer of Love Tour” and appearances at major festivals across the West Coast from Lightning in a Bottle to Symbiosis, the Dirtybird Campout to Transmit Festival, there’s simply no stopping this rag-tag team of musical merrymakers. This November, they’ll be returning to their stomping grounds in Southern California for the Desert Hearts 3 Year Anniversary Festival from November 5th through the 9th. and everyone wants to get in on the fun.

In addition to Desert Hearts residents Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, Porkchop and Deep Jesus – joining in on the Fall fun are international stars and homegrown favorites including Dirtybird Record’s Claude VonStroke and J.Phlip, the legendary Doc Martin, Andreas Henneberg, Kate Simko, jozif, David Scuba, Dance Spirit, Tara Brooks and more.

Desert Hearts is truly one stage, one vibe and one sound – but beyond that, Desert Hearts is one dancing, breathing, living and loving organism that feels like home the second you enter. This November, come marinate in the music with over 100 hours of House, Techno and Love and revel in a weekend off the grid with other sonic souls and kindred spirits.

Purchase Tickets Here | More Info Here

For more on Desert Hearts, head to their socials:
Website | Facebook | |Soundcloud

Miss the Spring Festival? Catch up with my Desert Hearts Recap Here!

[The Audiofiles] Celebrate the Century Club Desert Hearts Style With 100 Hours of House, Techno and Love

desert

This coming November, take to the hills and gaze under the stars while the Desert Hearts team celebrates a three terrific years of House, Techno and Love in beautiful Southern California. For 100 hours straight, the hottest stars in the House, Progressive and Techno scenes will flood the airwaves as we celebrate one stage, one sound, one vibe and one love with a community of conscious partygoers. From Thursday November 5 through Monday, November 9th – don your festival duds, get your party pants ready and prepare to groove with new friends and family from all over the United States. Tickets for Desert Hearts’ Fall romp are on sale starting today, snag ’em now!

Purchase Tickets HereLast year, Audiofly vs M.A.N.D.Y., Atish, Tara Brooks, Jamie Schwabl and Blond:ish stole the show alongside Desert Hearts residents Mikey Lion, Porkchop, Marbs, Lee Reynolds and Deep Jesus deep in the heart of the beautiful Los Coyotes Indian Reservation and we can’t wait to head back! Keep it locked on The DJ List for the full lineup, releasing soon!

Relive the Spring Desert Hearts Festival here.

RSVP on Facebook and get the whole squad in on the fun!  For more on Desert Hearts, follow them on social media –

WebsiteFacebook | Soundcloud | Twitter | Instagram

Cross Published on The DJ List

[The Audiofiles] Lightning in a Bottle: Life is a Festival

Rivers coagulate and disperse, trees branch and form, humans quickly congregate and dissipate just as quickly; though I can’t tell you the mathematics behind it, I see the patterns while bending with the wind, ebbing and flowing with the gentle ocean breeze.  For as far as I can remember, I’ve seen the world in perpetual patterns with wide eyes and technicolor taste buds.  Instead of there being a past and a future, there’s always the present moment and time, if anything, appears cyclic to me; everything in harmonious discord and calming calamity. It makes sense when you stop looking for the reason why it has to.

In the strangest sense, LIB had always been my unicorn – my unattainable vision of the real life Venn Diagram where beauty, music, consciousness and nature intersect. I bought my first ticket In 2010 but had to sell it because of my health;  the next year in 2011 was my Best Friend’s bachelorette party and in 2012 I’d simply given up on the notion that I wanted to go. Three years ago, I finally experienced my first Lightning in a Bottle as a wide eyed, eager fan that was literally in the process of falling in love and now – six years after my first want for something more, I’ve found myself on the opposite side of the music industry, engaged to my best friend who just so happens to be an excellent concert photographer – and just as in lust with it all as ever.

Our wanderlust has taken us to Desert Hearts and Gem and Jam, Global Dance and Shambhala and I’ll tell you one little secret – you can go far and wide in a search for the best environment out there, but conversationally, communally, consciously, completely – Lightning in a Bottle takes my cake.  If there’s one thing that my life has taught me, it’s that doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is insanity – so to expect to change the world because you’re attending a transformational festival is like expecting a tiger not to eat you because you’re vegetarian; the change can only happen if you in fact change yourself at your very core.

Being held at San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, CA for it’s second year in a row, the Do LaB did what they do best – making lasting changes that impact the many when they are still the few.  With bamboo bridges linking areas like the Temple of Consciousness and the Silent Disco, they found vast ways to improve upon the layout and community, the ethos and the stages.  With so many separate paths to take to everywhere, the festival grounds turn into the most wonderful ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ scenario.

Whether you want to pick up culinary tricks from the Learning Kitchen, prance and party in the succulent sunshine, explore the immersive art sculptures, enjoy newly created canvases or delve into details on Festival Law with the Festival Lawyer himself – there’s room for everyone to experience their own unique version of Lightning in a Bottle. There’s simply no wrong place to be. What I’ve learned from the festival ethos over the last three years is that to appreciate each and every moment, you have to be willing to fully submerge, fully let go, fully give in and know that as long as you’re where you want to be, you are exactly where you need to be. For me, it took until this year at Lightning in a Bottle for that idea to truly sink in.

Last fall, Danny and I were supposed to cover HARD Day of the Dead and ventured off to the Pomona Fairplex from Eagle Rock, but at the gate, we got discombobulated, turned around, then we were told that the press request had never been submitted.  Between three friends, we’d purchased one ticket for the event, and nodding in agreement we gave it to one of our best friends.  As we walked back into the festival grounds and between lamenting that she’d been separated from her friend group and that her phone was dead – we heard a bubbly scream from a car yelling “Adriaaaaa!!”.  Looking at the two of us, she smiled “Oh, that’s Mackenzie!! Hopefully I’ll find them inside, too!”  The next day at HARD Day of the Dead, Danny and I rolled through, but this time with our confirmed passes and discovered one of the most beautiful, heartwarming things: call it chance, call it serendipity, but she did more than just find them, she created lifelong friendships with people that I’m now thrilled to call my closest friends.  Ever since that weekend, we’ve been planning, plotting, daydreaming about Lightning in a Bottle.  We’ve met almost every weekend since October, sharing drinks and laughs, schemes and grandiose plans – and finally, it was here.

On Wednesday afternoon, Danny and I took off early from work and zipped up the freeway to festival freedom.  For the last two years, I’d attended Lightning in a Bottle as a fan, and then as press – this year, I was coming from a brand new perspective – working with The Confluence.  Rolling into the festival at sunset, we found our friends that were painting for the Do Art Foundation for the weekend.  Three years ago, Danny and I said ‘I Love You’ in front of paintings by Andy Knights and Anthony Sirios West, we’ve hung their art in our homes so we could ogle it day in and day out – and now, they were our camp mates!

The first night we roamed the festival grounds, reminiscing about the year before and determining the new lay of the land.  The Lightning Stage had migrated to the next plateau over, the Temple of Consciousness had been pushed back into the festival and the Woogie had found another tree to grow its groovy roots from.  Laughing, roaming, and exploring the festival grounds while the rest of the festival was still under construction, between the easels and the moonlit structures  we felt like we were home.

Thursday morning we woke up with a smile on our face and a bounce in our steps – today was the day, it was all happening!  After I logged my first shift checking in press, then I was off to the races with the rest of the crowd – gallivanting through the camp areas in search of the patch my pod was posted on in bass camp.  Smiles radiated the same warmth as the sunshowers, while a menagerie of music ebbed and flowed throughout the grounds. Camps were being set up with fervor left and right while gregarious conversation filled the air like a warm fragrance.  Finally, through the turns and twists, brightly colored canopies and psychedelic tapestries – I happened upon home base. Brightly lit with holiday lights and adorned with a plush carpet, sweeping overhang and proper DJ booth equipped with projection mapping and a disco ball at the center – I’d finally found it, Camp RGL in all of it’s glory. For the multitudes of weekend rendez-vous, the group Google doc and the Facebook group, mass group messages and squad potlucks, the nuanced and out of this world plans that failed like our giant ball pit and the ones that succeeded on a mass scale; we did it, we Do LaBed it.

As the afternoon manifested into dusk, and then into the witching hour – we migrated away from our plusher than life homebase where our talented friends had just been spinning and off to the Silent Disco, hosted by the amazing Hush Concerts team.  It was hard to choose a channel, especially with San Francisco’s Motion Potion going up against Southern California’s Romy Ancona – but you knew who the Green Team was when they were over because we were all hungry for quesadillas.

Friday morning we awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed under the bright central Californian sun; for my first time at Lightning in a Bottle, I was up and at’em, ready to devour information from a seminar.  After meeting up with a few friends, we ventured over to the Mystery School, hidden within the Temple of Consciousness for Fest Law 101 with the Festival Lawyer.

Hands down, this is one of the most useful talks I’ve ever been to (okay, so it’s the only one I’ve been to at a festival…but I digress). We discussed our rights as festival goers, whether your tent or RV have an expectation of privacy (hint one does, one does not) and how to be an intelligent, conscious festival community.  Even if this knowledge doesn’t directly apply to you, consider the notion that we’re our brother’s keeper and the information is guaranteed to help someone you know. In the final moments, we got a wonderful treat – Emanuel Sferios, the co-founder of Dance Safe, who joined the Festival Lawyer on stage to discuss his new film “MDMA: The Movie” after a warm crowd welcome.  According to statistics, the market on MDMA is the most adulterated market in the world and as festival goers, we need to be aware of what people are ingesting. After a quick question and answer session, we were off to the races – the music had begun and Mikey Lion was waiting for us at the Woogie!

Between the deep, body shaking basslines and ethereal tones – Mikey Lion put on a show that made the Desert Hearts family proud while an inspired beat wove through the crowd. We then ventured off to the main stage before I had to split ways, I was heading off to my second work shift while my squad migrated towards the Lightning Stage.  For the first time in six years, Woogie phenom Pumpkin would be playing on the main stage – a much deserved feat; even though I wasn’t physically present, I loved hearing him float in and out of his effervescent, bubbly remixes of the classics our parents raised us on.  Meanwhile, those in the mood for some Future Bass ventured off to the Thunder Stage where up and coming bass tastemakers TastyTreat were living up to their name.

Surprisingly, reconvening with the group after dinner was an easier task than expected – all anyone needed to do was follow the laughter and unabashed good times, thoughtful conversations and serendipitous moments – and you would know you were at our camp.  But, as it turned out, staying together after we left camp was a whole different monster all together.  As parts of the group coagulated, and others dispersed, a fraction of us ended up wandering around the Woogie into the Grand Artique in search of some good, old fashioned entertainment.  What we didn’t expect, was to be greeted by the FUNN Machine, but boy were were ever glad we did!  Between the dozens of disco balls and plethora of bubble machines, we immediately forgot our final destination and gave in to the good vibes.  Slowly but surely, we made it to the Lightning Stage for ODESZA – like literally everyone in attendance flooded the main stage for a sonic seduction of amazing proportions, and the guys surely didn’t disappoint.  Expertly weaving famed remixes with their chart topping hits, we were lost in the throws of musical bliss – and for the record, I can’t wait for them to release that third to last song so full of rich bass and an energetic backbone. The only qualm was that we were pushed back into the merch booth and food stands, leaving almost no area untouched.  Last year, the Lightning Stage sat on an adjoining hilltop and seemed to accommodate more people.  We ventured off to the Thunder Stage where we caught the end of a beautiful Phutureprimative set; his music is only mirrored by his voice, humble and honest, asking us to take what we learn and love about our festival culture and ingrain it back into the ‘real world.’  And finally, Griz graced the stage where he got live and so saxxy on us – in my eyes, a redemption of his set last month at The Wiltern; his music, style and stage presence are so fitting for a festival setting.  As the main three stages were closing down, the side stages were heating up ; the Pagoda Bar featured Headtron favorites like JoBoT and Chris B while the Desert Hearts‘ Favela Bar takeover was in full effect on the other side of the festival.

As the music came to a close the first night, our wanderlust walked us home to camp for a nightcap featuring good beers and good bass.  DJs Firefly, Dreamlyfe and St4rfox lit up the night with a surge of electrcity while we danced our cares away under the crisp starlight.  Around 5 in the mornning when I was considering finally grabbing some sleep, I was threatened with a good time at the Silent Disco featuring Deep Jesus from the Desert Hearts squad and let it be known, those are hard to resist.  I rocked and raved until the sun came up, then crashed for a few hours before the Press and Artist Mimosa Mixer.

I have to admit that even a decent night’s sleep can be a game changer at a multi-day festival like Lightning in a Bottle.  After catching a wee bit of shut-eye, I was ready to take on my third day of the event.  Strolling into the Press Mixer, I had a tinge of anxiety shaken and stirred with a feeling of gratitude.  Last year, this was me – or, it at least would have been me if I’d ever shown up.  I distinctly remember Danny and I glancing at each other last year around 11 AM on Saturday morning, musing that other press outlets were all listening, watching, regurgitating the same thing so why not go our own way? But watching the artists, writers and photographers mesh like a sloppy watercolor painting, the influence rubbing off in each and every direction – I almost lamented my choice from a year before.  Lucent Dossier‘s Dream Rockwell and the Flemming Brothers, founders of the Do LaB and Lightning in a Bottle Festival, dished the dirt to eager reporters, lapping up information like a thirsty dog on a hot Summers day.  And I couldn’t have thought of a better way to truly get to know the other outlets other than handing them Mimosas and other festive, morning beverages.  

Gallivanting off into the masses with a grin on my face and a bounce in my step, I was ready to conquer the remainder of Saturday afternoon and evening with some of my favorite friends.  As we descended into the redesigned Thunder Stage that debuted this past April at Coachella, Lindsay Lowend went from 0 to 100 real quick – one moment lamenting that he only had three minutes left in his set, followed by ecstatic amusement that he actually had a half hour.  The music went from being a good party to a feel good dance off with banger after banger. Before he finally exited the stage, he went on a slight tirade about producers that have a microscopic focus, only playing one genre – that “No one wants to hear an hour and a half of Trap Music.” While I agree with the first half of the statement, he obviously had no clue that G Jones was about to come out and essentially decimate that statement with one of the best Dubstep and Trap sets of the weekend.   Hit after hit, the crowd was writhing seductively to the healthy doses of bass and filth radiating from the speakers.

Pulling ourselves to the Woogie stage for a bit of Lee Curtiss, we stopped to smell the proverbial flowers along the way – taking notice of each of the wonderfully immersive art installations.  The giant tea pots were always overflowing with bubbly characters, while the ginormous Skii Ball tracks attracted gleeful groups in the mood for something a bit different.  Sauntering up to the giant set of circular doors leading into a mysterious room, we each set out in front of a different one – eager to discover what was on the other side.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”

What does one usually find on the other side – especially the other side of ones self?  What secrets have we been keenly hiding from our minds and hearts, what joys have we denied ourselves, what worlds are within us?  For almost 365 days a year, we’re forced to go along with the grain of life – we finish school, more often than not with degrees announcing our due diligence but not our personal passions; we live in boxes so we can commute in boxes to other boxes, where we work in smaller boxes on electronic boxes so someone can reaffirm our standing in the world.  For almost 365 days a year we live in a world we didn’t create, so that we can uphold values that we’re not even sure if we stand by.  This is why we festival, this is why we celebrate in technicolor clothing and neon hair, sparkles and boas, gregarious smiles and outstretched arms.  We’re human, and as humans we need to connect – with nature, with our community and most importantly with ourselves. At a festival, each and every time you interact – you open a new door, you welcome a new way of thinking and a fresh perspective.  The people you meet at Lightning in a Bottle are prisms of your life, let the light shine through and you’ll see how rich your world is while each interaction is a doorway into discovering who you are at your core.

Getting our boogie on at the Woogie for Lee Curtis, we slowed our roll a bit to take in some of the amazing art that was being created live at the festival. Each year, Lightning in a Paintcan gathers some of the most sought after artistic talent and gives them the room to create, curating a warm and welcoming community of artists who pour their heart, time and sweat into their works.

Walking back and forth between the stages wasn’t just easier this year, but a hell of a lot more fun – I don’t know about everyone else but I’ve never been so excited for High 5’s in my entire life.  Each time my friends and I jumped on the bridges, we launched our lefts hand high while smiles were plastered to our faces.  Whether you grew up on a sports team and immediately started wishing everyone a “Good Game!”, or joyously giggled each time you slapped hands – those connections we made, that energy we passed onto each other – it wasn’t just wonderful, it was inspired.  And speaking of inspired, getting back to the Lightning Stage we all had to pause in our tracks and take in the wonder and beauty of Goldroom’s live set.  I’d only heard of them a few times in passing, but there was something to be said about a full band, rich sound and crisp vocals – it sounded like a daydream and washed over us like sunshine at night.  We stayed through the beginning of the ever animated and creative Lucent Dossier Experience.  It’s usually hard to pull myself away from the theatrics and fire dancing, but this was would be my first time seeing Opiuo – and he was bringing the entire band! Part funk, part soul, and all the way groovy, Opiuo makes the beats that makes everyone want to move their feet; his music defies generation gaps and you could easily pin him for twenty years too early for his time, or twenty years too late, but I’d like to think of him as right on time.  Saturday’s nightcap was Flume on the Lightning Stage and the set was beautiful beyond words – not to mention, it felt serendipitous to run into so many different friends while marinating in his music.  Time for one last night at RGL Bass Camp, and then tomorrow was the coup de grace – somehow, as if stuck in a time vortex, we’d been catapulted to the end of the festival; how does it always go by so fast?

We kicked things off at the Woogie, because hands down – it’s the best Sunday day party of any festival I’ve frequented.  Checking our watches while shaking our tail feathers, we counted down the milliseconds until Zion I graced the Lightning Stage.  Somewhere on my lavish list of the things I truly love about LIB, is how genres tend to dissolve while good music remains.  The high octane, passionately powerful set from the Zion I Crew was on par with The Opiuo Band with riddles hidden inside witty lyrics that unlock personal epiphanies layered over textured beats. As the last sunset fell over the fields, a collective howl crept from a soft call to a gregarious uproar. We came in small groups, some of us without even knowing a soul; we left as a pack, a family, a coagulation of ideas with an ethos of love.

As our festival family split up to change for the evening to prepare for Shiba San at the Woogie, Danny and I ventured around to the food stands in search of every bouncy kitty’s favorite eats – sushi! Just like the last two years, the fish was fresh and everything I’d been dreaming of.  I felt like Super Mario after eating a mushroom as each fiber of my muscles felt reinvigorated. Like a schoolgirl crush, I’d been talking up Shiba San’s set all weekend – but I never made it, because I found myself dancing around like a fool without a care to SNBRN as the last of the sunset fell out of the sky. After we’d collected ourselves and our camp mates for the night, we were off for one last wild ride, taking our time to smell the electric air. Random Rab ignited the Lightning Stage in a harmonious frenzy with a beautifully bouncy set, and then we were off to the Thunder to close out our festival with RL Grime.  One by one, friends that we hadn’t seen in hours trickled in and around, pulling us in with a dance or lifting us up with a hug or hilarious story. I’ve seen RL Grime before, but there was something so special about having him at Lightning in a Bottle.  Track after track, the crowd blissfully forgot they were on their 4th day of a festival and left it all out on the dance floor.

As Monday morning came, we drank up the sunshine in a jubilant daze while celebrating one of our best friends’ birthdays – and what a wonderful way to ring it in! Surrounded by smiling faces, good vibes, and some excellent morning music from our talented tribe we popped champagne and toasted to our last day of LIB. In just a few hours, we’d have to ravel our lives back into a car while we underwent a psychlogical metamorphosis.  Our generation has spent an elaborate portion of their lives following in someone else’s dream, be it through milestones, academic merit or romantic engagement.  Lightning in a Bottle is a wonderful deviation from that forced reality, opening minds to how you can live your life as a festival, one grandiose moment at a time.  Air smells fresher, strangers seem kinder, flowers perk up with interest while butterflies weave to and fro with delight; moments of serendipity appear far less like coincidence and my relationships have become that much more profound.

I usually write these closer to the event, but if I had – this story would be different, I would feel different. You’d be hearing more of how the self-made signs and Temple of Consciousness were defaced and less about how Flume and Goldroom played beautiful sets on the main stage.  Instead of bridges and shade, we’d be up in arms about common courtesy and property theft. The artistry would be overshadowed by the 1%, where the beauty ran rampant because 99% of the people there were there with a purpose, they were there because they want to be part of the beauty and the magic.

The world itself is more like the former, but as a giggling, eager, inspired part of the later – Lightning in a Bottle has taught me that it’s up to us to take what has transformed us and give it back to the world.So, how do you truly embody the experience of Lightning in a Bottle within your everyday life? How do you take what you eagerly learn, wholeheartedly feel, and fully believe for those magical five days then reintegrate it back into your universe? High five your neighbor, hug a stranger, educate the uninformed, smile at cars when you’re stuck in traffic, help without being asked, thank the people that help you and make a real connection with each and every person you interact with – life is a festival, join in.

All photos provided are from Daniel Leist Photography.

For more amazing images from Lightning in a Bottle, head over to The DJ List’s Facebook Album

[The Audiofiles] Desert Hearts: There’s a Message in the Music

Photography by Daniel Leist

Last Thursday night, we congregated in hushed tones – packing, plotting, scheming over what the weekend would bring. Not to say that my friends and I are novices to music festivals – quite the opposite in fact –  but it’d been a good minute since we’d all had a ‘first’ in the music scene.  Friday morning we woke up to delicious threats of coffee and impending adventure just around the corner.  After loading up our cars to the brim with the bare necessities, we were off down the rabbit hole on an adventure for the books; reverse skydiving into a whimsical, wonderful world where the unexpected was probable and the possible was unlike anything you’d ever experienced. Scrolling through the lineup for Desert Hearts, we collectively knew about a third of the musical acts…between the seven of us.  This was our inaugural Desert Hearts experience and we all knew we’d be in for a special treat. What started two and a half years ago as an intimate renegade gathering in the Mojave Desert has transformed into band of brothers and sisters over 2000 strong.  For the 6th installment of Desert Hearts, we traversed inland to ten acres of sacred space belonging to the Los Coyotes Band of Indians; it’s the largest reservation in San Diego County, boasting a healing, vibrant landscape.

By all standards, this isn’t your normal 3 Day Music Festival – featuring not just one love and one vibe, but one stage for a wild romp through nuanced variations of House, Disco and Techno all weekend long.  Hosted by an equally eclectic, talented and mindful group, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they’ve spurred a community based artistic platform appropriately called Desert Arts while simply giving away all their music – singles, albums and sets – for free on Soundcloud just for the sake of sharing their passions with the world. They’re a philanthropic, warm heart-ed, collaborative, conscious and creative entourage and it’s reflected within the community that they’ve cultivated.

After two hours in the car, laughing, musing, and daydreaming about our first Desert Hearts experience we valiantly arrived at the check-in point, blaring the last heavy bass drop we thought we’d hear for the next three days. Greeted by the Green Team, we were welcomed with warm smiles and a set of trash bags so we could keep the grounds as wonderful as we’d found them, Within minutes, we’d conquered the campground and picked the perfect camping spot – surrounded by equal sun showers and shade during the day, and ample starlight melded mystery at night.  Gallivanting towards the stage, we noticed ‘Desert Hearts’ necklaces glistening in the sunlight and immediately mused that we all wanted one; within seconds of stepping foot onto the dance floor, a beautiful soul named Purps pranced our way with a sparkle in her eye and giving in her heart. ‘Welcome to Desert Hearts!’ she smiled, ‘This is for you!’ What a wonderful, gesture – as if we’d manifested this ourselves. Immediately, we found our groove and held it for a transformative, magical, inventive, musical 72 hours while playing, prancing, hugging, dancing, giggling and shining in the Spring air.

Sultry sets, plush with body bumping, soul thumping Tech House from Jamie Schwabl and Tara Brooks of LA’s own Wülfpack kicked the night off right while hoopers, poi perfectionists, fire dancers and creative artists of all types scattered throughout the forest.  Up next was hands down, one of the most phenomenal  back to back sets I’ve borne witness to.  Philipp Jung of M.A.N.D.Y. and Audiofly expertly crafted a phenomenal Tech House set as the rare and highly acclaimed supergroup ‘M.A.N.F.L.Y.’  You could watch them put their minds together, determining the collective fate of the dance floor with excitement and glee. Evening manifested into morning, and a beautiful Blond:ish sunrise set. Though the temperatures got down to as low as 40 a night – we found that if you stayed on the dance floor and shook your groove thing, you could stay warm all night by heating up the dance floor with your stellar moves.

Waking up Saturday morning surrounded by a lush landscape, the cacophony of nature purring over a four to the floor bassline, completely disconnected from all forms of technology was the epitome of bliss.  Looking around, I was proud to be a member of this new tribe – a warm welcoming group of idiosyncratic individuals, donning duds from eons past into the further future; cummerbunds, galactic glitter shorts, top hats, bunny suits, glowing cat tails, bubble guns, flow toys and more shimmed around me – and that’s just from our campsite.  All it took was a day, and our ethos felt preserved, like a time capsule or a pressed flower. Adjusting to our beautiful new reality, we bounded down the trails in search of friends and mimosas, melody and merrymaking and found ourselves in the art tent, enraptured by the work of Jef Logan.

As we collapsed over each other while giggling in time with the music, Marbs casually strolled through the room with a hop in his step, a glimmer in his eye and his parents by his side. Sauntering to a sitting position, we gleefully exclaimed to his mother how amazing the festival was and that the beauty, art, creativity and kinship they were witnessing were possible because of their influence before resuming our cuddle puddle, once again lost in the shadow play and sunlight.  Starting our walk back to the campsite to prepare for the evenings festivities, Danny and I were stopped in my tracks by someone asking for a favor; we weren’t sure what we could offer, but decided to play along anyways. After handing over a copy of Shel Silverstein’s ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends‘ we were immediately whisked ten feet away to a stage where we were the main attraction for dozens of eager beavers, ready to lap up our linguistic talents.  “We’ve picked a poem for you! Would you mind reading? We’re ready!” Before my brain had a second to flirt with declining, I’d started in, with Danny chiming in on the next line.  Back and forth, we wove through the stanza in an impromptu slam poetry performance that reinvigorated my soul and humored my funny bone.

Reassembling back at the campsite, we kicked off Saturday evening with a hike into a gorgeous, open field.  For a few moments, we forgot there was even a festival in the background – less the dull roar of music in the distance. Quietly, we marinated in the beauty of the moment, our minds wandering outward to the cotton candy sunset cascading through the sky and inward, firmly grasping the concepts of community, friendship and love on a new, unified wavelength.  Shaking our way back to the stage, freak flags flew vivaciously from each and every direction as the freedom of individual self expression sprang to new heights, where inner children, superheroes, gods and goddesses emanated from each and every one of us. With one stage, one vibe and one rhythm – we’d metamorphosed into one giant, living, breathing, heartfelt, creative, magical, giving, dancing organism with the stage as our collective heartbeat.

The tunes Saturday night were a Desert Heart’s family affair, eloquently flowing between Deep Jesus, Marbs, Porkchop, Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds from 6 at night til 4 in the morning. One of the many beautiful things about Desert Hearts is there’s no distinction made between performers, artists, musicians, production, staff, crew, festies and fanatics – there aren’t VIP passes or VIP booths, because w’re all DHP – Desert Hearts People. What that meant, was anyone and everyone was allowed to roam as they pleased across, around and through the campground; leading the most cavalier of folk to snag their five minutes of fame behind the DJ booth with their crew. Lost in a groove to a gorgeous rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’, we danced the way we felt while bubbles and glitter cascaded around us. I didn’t make it to Atish, but my friends that did let me know how much I missed out.

By Sunday, we’d perfected the Desert Heart Bob – or the DHB for short – while salaciously serendipitous meetings of friends and strangers alike pulled on our heartstrings. Hilarious, funny and pun riddled totems floated throughout the festival with as much character as the individuals porting them.  There were festival go-ers from all walks of life, with one foot firmly planted in the convoluted reality of a 9 to 5 working job, while the other tapped in time to it’s unique, effervescent rhythm.  Desert Hearts is proof that if you build it, they will come; and if you play it, they’ll dance. The music on Sunday was on point, and heavier on the bass.  The night before, we discovered a full banana costume next to us on the floor – it wasn’t til Sunday’s shenanigans with Monkey Safari and the crowd going completely bananas that it all made sense.  Going into the evening, I’d reiterated over and over that we couldn’t miss Wobs; and did he ever hold up his end of that bargain. From the giant zebra flying through the crowd, to hilarious cardboard cameras with his name on them – his stage presence spoke volumes and the crowd celebrated in kind.

As we packed up our campsite Monday morning, we couldn’t help but reminisce on a beautiful weekend past and a bold new future to take the reigns on.  With the mentality of radical self reliance, we collectively decided that since we hadn’t exactly paid attention to which was the trash and which was the recycling – we’d lend some hands to the Green Team to sort through them; after all, it wasn’t on them that we didn’t remember, but I guarantee we all will next time!  To reward ourselves, we took one last stroll onto the dance floor and closed out the festival the only way one should – with the Desert Hearts DJs taking the reigns as a family, in an epic back to back set that I’m thrilled I got to witness. Hands down, one of the most beautiful Monday afternoons I’ve ever had.

Rousing ourselves away from the dance floor, we became lost once again in the moment – a 72 hour moment that seemed to linger like a perfume, tangled in the wind.  For 3 days, 72 hours, 4320 minutes, 359,200 seconds – glitter was a color, hugs were currency, laughter was lyrical, smiles became medicine and we truly were one. We came to Desert Hearts with beautiful intentions and without expectation and we left with our heads in the clouds and our feet still on the dance floor.  We laughed, danced and cried tears of joy; we were shaken to our core by how awe inspiring this world is and shown time and time again that it’s up to us to not only leave it better, but leave it beautiful.

We are all Desert Hearts, and there’s a message in our music. 

A HUGE thank you to the Green Team for promoting sustainability and ensuring we left the venue better than we found it; the Los Coyotes Tribe and Tribal Police for allowing us to gather and celebrate on their land; the Dance Safe Team for promoting intelligent partying; Symbiotic Creations and Alternative Lighting Solutions for a stunning stage presentation; Shangri-Lawless and Pile Palace for the great conversation and overflowing cuddle puddles; Harmonic Light for the unreal, unedited, mind blowing long exposure pictures; the Fire Performers and Dancers for a stunning display of grace and beauty;  the Desert Arts Foundation for the  enchanting and talented artists and art scattered throughout the festival; The DJ List for entrusting us to tell the world about our astounding experiences and Daniel Leist for being the best photographer, best friend, partner in crime and love a girl could ask for; the beautiful community that gathered together for four days and three nights under the stars with one heartbeat under one sound and last but certainly not least: Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, Porkchop, Deep Jesus and the rest of the wonderful Desert Hearts family for an astounding event that inspires creativity and consciousness, individual evolution and communal revolution.

Make sure you stay in touch with Desert Hearts for the dirt on their next festival:

WebsiteFacebook | Soundcloud | Twitter | Instagram

For the rest of the Album – Head to our Facebook Page and Daniel Leist Photography

“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.”

[The Audiofiles] Unleashing Legends with the Lucent Dossier Experience, MartyParty and the Desert Hearts Crew

Over the past decade, the Lucent Dossier Experience has left a legacy of excellence in and around Southern California.  Just the other weekend, the troupe descended back onto their home turf at Club Nokia located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles’ LA Live. From the second party go-ers descended through the front doors, minds were expanded and hearts were opened.  Vendors adorned the walls, while live painters – including West Coast Festival favorite Ngene – were catalyzed by the creativity that was rotating through.

As we billowed out of the elevators into the second story of Club Nokia, the sultry Deep House sounds of the Desert Hearts crew blissfully blasted through our eardrums.  Graced by the presence of Mikey Lion, Marbs and Deep Jesus, the groove was just sexy enough to make you forget that there was an entirely different party happening just a few feet away from us.  In the main arena,  Nico Luminous kicked the night off with some funky fresh wobbles and drops, gracefully passing the torch onto David Satori and Evan Fraser, respectively from Beats Antique and Stellamara.  For the night, the dynamic duo joined forces as Dirtwire, crafting delicious electronic soundscapes through rustic beats.

Through a unique fusion of fire-dancing, aerial acrobatics, body contortion, audience immersive characters and a cast that effectively blends in with their creatively costumed cohorts, our worlds were illuminated and legends were unleashed as Lucent Dossier once again stole the show.   Side conversations came to a halt as dancers glided harmoniously in a showcase of human agility and grace.

For seventy minutes, we were enraptured in the magic and ethereal wonder that the Lucent Dossier Experience brings to the table. A powerful performance embodying the feminine mystique and the constant push for both internal and external creation, the music from the aptly titled Unleash Your Legend  is also featured on their sophomore artist album – Light of the World. With beautiful artwork from the ever talented Venice artist Chris Saunders, the album is currently available for both purchase on iTunes as well as streaming through Spotify or Soundcloud.

Closing the night, we found there just ain’t no party like a MartyParty.   Tapping into his new ‘Black House’ sound, a delicious, melodic take on G-House heavy with Hip-Hop lyrics, we simply couldn’t have asked for a better follow-up act for Lucent Dossier. For the final hours at Club Nokia, worlds collided and the weird went pro – as Lucent Dossier troupe leaders joined in on the stage antics for MartyParty and I have to say, I hope this fusion of live entertainment and music transcends into more and more shows.

For more on Lucent Dossier, head to their Website, Facebook, Twitter or Soundcloud.

Wanna see them soon? Catch Lucent at Lightning in a Bottle!

Did you love the Desert Hearts Tribe? We know we did! Stoked to be covering them in a few weeks for Desert Heart’s Spring Fling, if you’re fiending for some fabulous deep house and tech house beats under the stars, come kick it with a stellar group of humans – including myself!

For info on Desert Hearts – head to their websiteFacebook, Twitter or Soundcloud.

For tickets to Desert Hearts, click here!

For the full Facebook album, head to The DJ List

Shot by Daniel Leist Photography