Located 3 miles deep into the desert of Lake Perris, CA, Desert Daze music festival kicked off its weekend on Friday October 12.
Unlike any festival I have ever been to before, Desert Daze took place on Moreno Beach making the venue one of the most beautiful places to watch live music. The psychedelic rock festival’s first day line up included Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Jarvis Cocker, LA Witch, and Pond, with the hotly anticipated Tame Impala headlining. While the festival had become a recent annual affair within Joshua Tree, the location was forced to move to accommodate the scope of this year’s event. Understandably, this set the stage for a series of ups, downs, and growing pains. From traffic to desert storms, here are all things we saw at Desert Daze on Friday.
Lake Perris provided the festival with the most incredible scenery to look out at. Even as the storm clouds rolled in, the skyline and mountains kept visitors in awe. The main stage, where bands such as Pond and Tame Impala performed at, was enclosed around the lake and the beach, which added to every performance.
Some festival-goers waited 3-4 hours in car lines on Friday simply trying to make it into the festival. While the festival experienced severe backlash from their inability to speed up traffic, they attempted to make it up by honoring all Friday passes during Saturdays performaces. Although the festival was expecting traffic at the new location, the terrible wait times many experienced added to the few losses the festival took on Friday.
The festival was scattered with a plethora of interactive artwork ranging from old living rooms, a “Derpgarden”, a disco themed treehouse, spray painted murals, rainbows and so much more. With every step taken, a new piece of art was found on the grounds. The unique lively artwork added personality to the festival. Each stage had been surrounded and topped off with artistic elements boosting the live shows.
Around sunset, the clouds began to darken causing some nerves within the festival goers. Who would have thought that in the middle of a Southern California desert, a thunderstorm would tarnish the most anticipated performance of the festival. A few hours before Kevin Parker, Tame Impala’s mastermind, took the stage raindrops began to fall and lightning danced in the horizon. At 10 p.m. it was fully raining but Tame Impala still began performing. After 3 songs, officials took the mic announcing in panic for everyone to exit the grounds and wait in their cars until the storm passed, promising Tame Impala would be back. Fans exited the festival upset, confused and hopeful that Tame would be rejoin the crowd at some point. My group waited silently in our car as it poured outside, getting less hopeful by each minute that passed. After an hour of waiting we decided that Tame’s return was highly unlikely and hit the road. The festival left fans without any updates during this time, besides tweeting out that everyone should seek shelter.
The 3 Song Performance- Tame Impala
3 songs, 15 minutes. That is how long Desert Daze got to watch Kevin Parker dominate the stage with his trippy light shows and cosmic sound. He opened with mellow song, “Nangs” which led into a fan favorite, “Let it Happen”. Luckily for fans, Parker played the full 8 minute 9 second version of the song. Although it was only ⅓ of his performance, the energy and excitement that filled the audience during “Let it Happen” made being at that show worth it. The performance was topped with confetti and unplanned lightening taking over the sky at harmonious times with the song. Tame Impala closed off with “Sundown Syndrome” which normally would be a chill lead into an incredible setlist packed with songs from the newest album “Currents”. Although the rain stopped the show, being able to have at least seen 3 songs made the night slightly better. Kevin took to Instagram to post a sad face on a rainy window saying, “Devastated. Sorry Desert Daze. Hope everyone’s safe.” and the following day posted, “You know what’s crazy…We were planning on playing the song Jeremy’s Storm at Desert Daze for the first time in five years for a one off jam……. Still heartbroken by the way. Feel deeply for everyone who saved up to buy tickets or traveled from far away to see us. There’ll be a next time of course. Hang in there.” The irony of storm canceling the show that was to feature the rare song “Jeremy’s Storm” stings a little knowing how incredible the night would have been if it concluded with a full 90 minute Tame Impala performance.
The Desert Daze music festival is budding with potential for upcoming years. While their inability to speed up the traffic lines on Friday did result in some furious people, the tragic ending to Friday was out of the festivals control. The unique line-up, breathtaking view and incredible artwork is something that makes Desert Daze unlike any festival. While the first day of the festival may have not lead the weekend off to the greatest start, many elements of the fest leave it with the ability to breakthrough as one of the best psychedelic rock festivals yet.