Desert Hearts brought bucketloads of house, techno, and love to the LA Coliseum after a venue change that shook the community!
It has been just under a week since I left the grounds of the LA Coliseum for Desert Hearts‘ two-day open-air party, and I feel reinvigorated after a healthy dose of dance therapy. Of course, grooving under The Torch wasn’t in the original plans, but sometimes the universe flings us in a different direction, and you simply have to roll with it. The question remains, did Desert Hearts deliver in full after a venue change that sent shockwaves through the community? Just like the reasoning behind the change, the answer is not so simple.
For those who need a little catch-up, in a nutshell, Desert Hearts had to make the terribly difficult and heartbreaking decision to cancel their plans for their camping festival at Lake Perris due to the rising venue and production costs. With the lineup already secured and a passionate community that would be distraught if they couldn’t commune as they do each and every year, Mikey Lion, Marbs, Lee Reyolds, Porky, and the rest of the Desert Hearts team pulled together a solution.
Of course, the change rocked us all to our core, as camping is such an integral part of the experience, not to mention the nonstop music marathon that allows attendees to ride the beat any time, morning, noon, or night. The news affected me deeply as this was supposed to be my first Desert Hearts Festival, a quest my husband and I have been discussing for years. But, after a long cry and a good night’s sleep, I accepted the reality of the situation and felt the pull to be wherever the family gathered.
Fast forward to May 6, and I found myself standing in front of the whimsical Desert Hearts Stage – a moment I’d dreamed about for so long.
To the left – the Sound Cabin, a unique Art Car loaded with fire cannons to keep us warm when the evening chill began to nip. To the right was the beautifully silly Giving Tree, whose leafy tendrils were soft and squishy. Behind the crowd sat the Pile Palace, my favorite place to start the afternoon on Sunday after a long night out at the afterparty. The trees were tastefully decked out with string lights and other crafty decorations, adding a soft glow to the atmosphere. As far as the main area goes, these details really made a huge difference when it came to visual stimulation and comfort.
But visual stimulation is just one piece of the puzzle. You can’t have a party without the beats, and sound quality is of the utmost importance! I was very happy with the balance between the top-end and bass, never struggling to make out the lyrics or all the intricate details that make house music so much fun. As far as the volume goes, I thought it was perfect all throughout Saturday, but Sunday seemed a smidge quieter for a short time during the day. My guess is that there was a sporting event across the street, or maybe my eardrums were simply stressed from the prior night. Regardless, the Desert Hearts Stage kept my feet stomping and gliding all weekend, and I was especially blown away by Marbs, Melé, VNSSA, and Lee Foss.
Around the corner lived the City Hearts Stage, a well-planned location because it helped to limit any pesky sound bleed. It was a small area but never uncomfortable, and I found myself settling in nicely to catch acts like Morpei B2B Ofier, Soul Clap, and DJ Minx. When it came to the lighting production, once the sun went down, I felt that the City Hearts Stage dazzled the senses a bit more than the Desert Hearts Stage, simply because it was in a tighter space.
This brings me back around to the original question – did Desert Hearts deliver in full?
This is a tough question to answer because the venue change only allowed less than two months to regroup and actualize. Of course, this event was never meant for concrete under the feet but for the middle of nowhere surrounded by the call of the wild. Unfortunately, the towering Coliseum made the stages seem smaller than they actually are, and while the shiny disco ball put on a sparkling show for the front, adding lasers could have helped to make the space more cohesive and visually stimulating for the guests in the rear. I’m guessing the city just wouldn’t allow it. That being said, the DH logo projected on the Coliseum wall was perfect.
Furthermore, when it came to the art, clothing vendors, and food, Desert Hearts hit the nail on the head. Even though it took around an hour to get a drink at the bar in the thick of Saturday evening, its placement at the Desert Hearts Stage allowed us to keep dancing while we waited. But time was never an issue for food. Not only was the service quick, but the food was downright delicious. I was especially obsessed with the burst of flavor in the bison burger and tacos. Equally as impressive was the vast array of shops that provided beautiful fashion-forward festival fits, canvases coming to life in real-time, and colorful clowns prancing and playing throughout the venue.
Desert Hearts LA wasn’t the experience I had originally dreamed about, but it was a fantastic time nonetheless.
It offered me the space to reconnect with old friends, cultivate new ones, express myself through the art of dance, and simply escape this crazy world we’re living in. To top it all off, the Saturday afterparty was a movie in itself, and I’ll have memories of Marbs and the all-encompassing screens with psychedelic visuals flashing through my mind for many moons to come. So, if you take away the venue change, which couldn’t be avoided, and a few nit-picky personal opinions about production, I say yes, Desert Hearts delivered in full. I can’t wait until they find their forever home, and when they do, I’ll be front and center soaking in all the house, techno, and love!
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