I have friends who try to visit every music festival on the west-coast. I am not one of those people. I have been taken to a few, and they can be really fun, but listening to the same kind of music all weekend gets on my nerves. (Whether it be reggae, electronic, folk, blue-grass, or just about anything.) Plus, if the food isn’t good, I’m stuck all weekend eating protein bars.
The consistent exception to this is the Joshua Tree Music Festival in May. This festival consistently provides huge differences to the usual music festival experience, and I almost never miss it. Plus, it’s only a two-hour drive from LA, so I don’t even have to go that far.
I don’t know how they do it, but they always have the largest variety of music that I have ever seen at a festival. They have bands from all different states, countries, continents, and music genres. In the same weekend, there has been a Korean punk band, a Venezuelan rock band, Australian folk music, British DJ’s, solo guitar players, a local Joshua Tree band, and more. Plus they get the most interesting fusion music…there was a group that did Celtic/Indian fusion, a modern New Orleans brass band, and a Australian band that did traditional chanting/ditchery doo mixed with rock and techno. Plus, the music isn’t just varied, it’s also great! Whoever chooses the music has my vote for good taste.
Joshua Tree happens to be one of my favorite places, so the setting is ideal. It’s very warm in May, so dress lightly for the daylight hours. Luckily, they have the dance area shaded, and they have been providing free water. The backdrop of the desert mountains adds something extra to the good music and good vibes, so I always consider this another excuse to spend a weekend in my favorite camping spot. (Without the hassle of cooking camp food.)
Along with good music choice, the festival also features great food vendors. Since I’ve spent so much time camping in J-Tree, it’s great to be eating gormet food without starting a fire or cleaning camp-ware. The vendors are different every year, but so far they’ve had: a raw food booth, Caribbean (mmm, plantains, coconut rice and gumbo), fancy pizza (strawberry and pesto even!), Acai smoothies, and assorted veggie plates (sauteed greens, yucca, etc). They always have vegetarian and vegan options, so even pickier eaters should be satisfied. And they always have a coffee booth, so you don’t even have to go without your ice-blended macchiato.
The Art and Activities:
I look forward to the art installations every year, they’re always different and always creative. It’s hard to explain the different set-ups with light, photos, and structures; it’s one of those things you’ll have to see for yourself. There’s also activities through-out the day, such as: yoga classes, hula-hooping, meditation, and workshops. (Almost all of which are included with your festival pass.)
Of course, for me a good deal is always what rounds out a good experience. And this music festival is one of the best priced festivals out there. You can buy one day, or all three. If you can’t afford a ticket, there is amble volunteering opportunities. You can check wristbands, or do promotion. So click the “volunteering” button on their website to use that option. The ticket prices go up as the dates get closer. They start as low as $70 for all three days if you buy early! They go up in increments, to $100 for the weekend, and up to #130 at the door. This is still a great price for all the bands, art, and fun. Here are the ticket prices until May 4th, 2012, minus the $15 camping fee:
Three Day Pass- $ 100
Friday Only Pass- $ 50
Saturday Only Pass- $ 70
Sunday Only Pass – $ 50
Buy Tickets Here
Prices After May 5th:
Three Day Pass- $ 120
So if you need a weekend of desert dancing, don’t miss it!