Desert Hearts Festival Feels Just Like Home

All photos by Eric Allen Photography

Every Springtime, the Desert Hearts community sets up shop to produce a sexy 72 hours of nonstop house and techno at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in Southern California. This is not an exaggeration, but an invitation to pack your tents and get your prettiest party pants on. The festival will leave you with a sparkle in your eye, a love of the human spirit, and a deeper connection to house and techno. It’s real, it’s authentic, and it’s a highly-organized grassroots endeavor. From the vendors to the fashion show, to the energizing lineup, Desert Hearts has created something unique that will make you regain your faith in a festival scene that may sometimes seem shallow or repetitive. 

Desert Hearts is fueled by everlasting youth, unrelented creativity, and pure love. And once you’re in, you’re in. The values of the community start harmoniously intertwining themselves within you and before you know it, YOU are Desert Hearts. Which is fabulous, because this festival is best experienced as a participant.

Whether you consider yourself a fashionista, a painter, a dancer, a healer, a writer, a photographer, a fondue master, a builder, or a killer dancer- there is a space carved within the Desert Hearts community for you (yes, you) to share your passions and talents to help personify this high desert dreamland. And while there is no shortage of personality within those festival gates, there is always room for newcomers to join in on this celebration of Life. The bright, welcoming atmosphere beckons those searching for where they fit in within this wild world.

Arguably the sparkliest festival of them all, Desert Hearts is as much for the self-reliant as it is the fashionable. Any onlooker of the community would be shocked to witness so many people serving iconic looks while living out of a canvas home for the weekend. And not your run-of-the-mill “trendy” festival looks, but original ensembles that take painstaking attention to detail and fondness for the color spectrum. It is an inspiring getaway that assures everyone that fashion is expressionism, not materialism. This is resoundingly my favorite aspect of the DH collective: being able to strut my stuff in whatever the hell my soul feels like that day- knowing that there is no judgement present.


When it comes to the music, keep in mind that Desert Hearts is again, nonstop house and techno. So- you’ve got to love the genres, or at least be open to discovering more about them if you want to fully immerse yourself in Desert Hearts. I am still in the early stages of my house and techno awakening, as previously spawned by The Woogie at last year’s Lightning in a Bottle. I am loving the journey of figuring out the little nuances of the genre, and what constitute house vs. tech house vs techno. With the territory of “House Music Beginner” comes an excitement about what I am hearing, yet sometimes an inability to decipher one style from the next. Trust me, I hate that I am admitting that, but it has to be known.  However, there is one artist that always delivers dark, delicious, smooth sounds that completely mesmerize: Marbs. He is one of a kind and if you get to witness one of his sets, you’ll discover the moment always seems to transpire into more of a moving meditation than a party. This moving meditation was the ideal way to get grounded and ease into the mindset for the exotic sounds that Damien Lazarus followed right along with. It was a mystical set executed with such pristine care that really was made to be listened to nowhere else except while dancing in the middle of the desert at 4am.

There is no escaping the call of this West Coast sensation- but why would you want to? I first discovered the Desert Hearts magic last year when I moved to California from Colorado, and I credit this community for making the move so much smoother and sweeter. Attending Desert Hearts events has become a staple in my festing, and I plan on keeping it that way until I just can’t dance any longer. You just cannot beat the originality and beauty of the world that DH is allowing us to create. So if you haven’t yet, let your curiosity take over and allow yourself to join in on the House, Techno, and Love at Desert Hearts. 

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