Desert Hearts 2017: Nothing But Love

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Many events have stemmed from Burning Man and blossomed into gatherings and eventually into larger events and festivals. Some of these gatherings have turned into massive events and some have managed to stay boutique and organic with a homegrown feel. BangOn! NYC is now putting on Elements Festival in Pennsylvania, Gratitude Migration Festival is now in its 3rd year in New Jersey, and Cityfox and All Day I Dream are now putting on events that could be considered festivals.

Some of these events feature one type of sound and some feature live music with multiple stages and sounds. While the line-ups and sound may differ and the overall direction these events go in also might differ, many of these events all attempt to create a warm and welcoming vibe and atmosphere. When bringing forth larger acts, curating multiple stages, and inviting new and emerging brands to join forces, the original community can distance themselves from the newcomers. The community can become polarized.


Desert Hearts has recognized this dilemma and grown organically without bringing forth major and mainstream acts, curating multiple stages, and inviting brands that don’t fit with their ethos. One stage, one vibe, and one great big family is their motto.

Photo: Juliana Bernstein//Get Tiny

At Desert Hearts you can hear the music all day and night throughout the campgrounds at Los Coyotes in Southern California. Arrive early on Thursday night and you can even catch music at a renegade stage in one of the vendor booths. You’ll also notice art installations being built and setup and the immaculate stage being crafted. Whereas many festivals throughout America stop the music at a certain time every night, Desert Hearts keeps the music going throughout its duration.

Camping is scattered throughout the festival grounds with RVs lined up in the parking lot and car camping in designated areas. Attendees can set up camp in close proximity to all the activities and the stage and be right in the middle of it all. Although you might walk through the grounds and notice cranes and construction vehicles that hint of a major production, the vendors, community, and structures will tell you differently. The intricate detail and aesthetics of this event are spectacular as is the vibe and warmth from all those who are present.

Many of the art installations are crafted of wood, including the stage itself. Each piece of wood is intricately carved out and some contain numerous layers that look like they might have been crafted by a famous architect. Approach any of the close to 3000 attendees at Desert Hearts and offer a handshake and you will instead be greeted with a hug. Complete strangers will offer you their unfinished meal or cover you with a warm blanket in case you don’t make it back to your camp. The love and warmth is unprecedented at Desert Hearts.

Whereas many major festivals experience theft, sexual assault, and sometimes violence, Desert Hearts has none of those concerns. Any negative energy is quickly exacerbated, any squabbles are immediately dissolved, and anyone that is feeling down or depressed are easily met by others to bring their spirits up.

Although this artistic and vibrant community stems from Burning Man, it is surely not self-sustained. Many pack for their whole family and bring an excess of supplies. If one is without, another provides. There are very little rules and limitations. Bring as much alcohol as you want, as much water as you want, and as much love as you can provide. Also bring your best and craziest outfit that you can possibly imagine. Think Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland with a touch of Mad Max.
Most music festivals that offer camping in America take place in the summer months and although Desert Hearts does take place in April, it is quite chilly during the night and a bit chilly during the morning and day as well. You’ll see your fair share of onesies at Desert Hearts just as you do with most festivals, but this is one of the only festivals where you will see long fur coats and fuzzy and furry hats outside of Burning Man. Attendees look like they are crafted for snuggling which just adds to the coziness of Desert Hearts.

Whether you want to listen to non-stop beats and dance with an endless amount of energy, hang out with new found friends in the tea lounge, check out some mesmerizing art, get a massage by a trained therapist, or be immersed in a sound bath by chimes made in India, it is all prevalent at Desert Hearts. The one stage, one vibe, and one love for all will have you leaving with lifelong friends and a smile on your face!