It's difficult to define any type of culture, especially one that is a melting pot of various influences, but the passionate team at Desert Hearts have yet again delivered the unimaginable this year at their 5th annual Desert Hearts Festival. It's no wonder why fans from near and far are more excited than ever to be apart of its magic, a festival comprised of a laundry list of attributes that ironically contradict what most California-based festival-goers expect. The contrast of the soothing melodic techno sunrises, the late-night hauntingly dark techno abductions, and the array of the most outlandish outfits and quirky demeanors would typically all serve as valid reasons as to why so many fans are objectively obsessed with the Desert Hearts culture.
To the extent of my conversations, I was surprised to hear that most first-time DH attendees arrive at the grounds with a blank slate, absolutely no idea of what to expect in the days to come, with some even claiming they've yet to enjoy house or techno music in the slightest. Interestingly, these same attendees left the festival with a deeply enriched understanding of techno music and its accompanying culture, an appreciation for the archetypical rhythmic patterns that are at the very heart of techno production, and the raw dedication to community values that go far beyond the festival grounds.
By increasing the outlets of influence from the diverse subcultures of fashion, sustainability, healing, or social word-of-mouth virality, Desert Hearts supplies an opportunity for the curious festival-goer. Their offerings help those discover a form of music and culture in a setting that is under 5K attendees making it indistinguishable from other festival ecosystems. Whether it's witnessing Serge Devant summon the techno gods on a dark cloudy night or watching Atish strategize his next move playing Connect 4 while still throwing down absolutely mental grooves, you know you've entered a new gateway to a world that lives by its own rules, and it's thriving.
Their uncanny ability of lineup curation and scheduling comes in the form of their 80-hour nonstop lineup and the associated art of mastering a set time down to the minute. Mikey Lion's 6 pm set brought the clear intention of energizing you into the night with a perfect combination of high vibe tech-house and smiles gleaming through the air. Likewise, artists like Evan Casey, 4 am on Sunday night, delivered rumbling dark techno that could scare the socks off of R. L. Stine. Desert Hearts has become the pinnacle of every experimental DJ and listener's dreams – a land where the weird and psychedelic tracks can truly come out to play. And for that, Desert Hearts Festival consistently delivers the best underground house and techno ensemble in the industry.
Photo Credit: Haley Busch