The high desert reverberates with inspiration and creativity during the Joshua Tree Music Festival in a fusion of dance, music, and art amplified by the area’s funky vibe. Set outdoors against the striking vistas of Joshua Tree National Park, the family-friendly fest, May 15-18, “melds the overwhelming spirit of desert freedom with powerful music from around the world to create a lighthearted oasis for music lovers,” says founder and organizer Barnett English.
The festival encourages community at the shaded Music Bowl with a knockout global music lineup, striking art installations, a “Kidsville” schedule, astronomy theater, yoga classes, didgeridoo workshops, and a global market.
This year’s music lineup features Portland’s Nahko & Medicine for the People (shown), Australia’s Oka — indigenous, high-energy earth rhythms backed by didgeridoo — and Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia, with their blend of bossa nova, tango, jazz, rock, and klezmer.
Other performers include Future Rock, with slapping electronica beats straight out of Chicago, and soul-filled rockers The Revivalists from New Orleans, along with Oumar Konate from Mali, house music producer Miguel Migs, trip-hopper Random Rab, the electro-soulful Fly Moon Royalty, bluegrass-style Magic Beans, soul punk Elle King, guitarist Scott Pemberton, and funksters Space Capone.
Joshua Tree’s own Third Ear Experience, Myshkin, Liesl, Lucky Bones, and Gene Jr. & The Family are also slated.
The fest aims to be zero-waste, and the Mojave Rattle Skaters — a local women’s flat track roller derby team — are on-site to promote recycling and composting.
Visitors can bring their own reusable containers and take advantage of the free, fresh, filtered well water at the Music Bowl and Joshua Tree Lake Campground, the festival’s central hub. The event’s beer and wine garden functions solely on solar power, and all vendors use biodegradable products. Carpooling and ridesharing are encouraged.
Joshua Tree Lake Campground
2601 Sunfair Rd., Joshua Tree
Stay and Play
The 40-acre Joshua Tree Lake Camp-ground is 9 miles from the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The site — festival central — offers hot showers, permanent restrooms, and RV spots. No dogs are allowed, and the camp encourages quiet zones in family areas after dark. Remember to bring along sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, and water. Advance reservations are recommended; call 760-366-1213, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.jtlake.com/festivalrates.htm