Open minds and ears at Desert Daze Festival

Tahoe Onstage

Punk rock pioneer Iggy Pop headlines the Desert Daze Festival.

The festival crowds in the High Sierra and High Desert are undoubtedly familiar with the inclusion of a spiritually conscious metaphysical flair to the regions’ larger gatherings. Wanderlust, Burning Man and SnowGlobe are some of the largest area festivals, and each makes self-realization and physical and mental self-consciousness a central part of the experience.

On Oct. 12-15, the Desert Daze Festival will be held for the sixth year in Joshua Tree, California, providing a consciousness-minded sensory experience cast on a larger scale. (OK, maybe not larger than Burning Man, but what is?)

Irita Pai of LA Witch.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Desert Daze takes the scale from other Mojave Desert festivals (looking at you, Coachella) but parts ways with these more polished mainstream-friendly lineups with its curation of musical and visual artists, along with its location on the grounds of the oldest and largest retreat center in the Western United States.

The Desert Daze musical lineup reads like a current mixtape of esoteric styles, delving deep into experimental, psych, shoegaze and garage territory. Iggy Pop headlines this year’s festival, with Spiritualized, Ty Segall, Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Eagles of Death Metal, The Make-Up, Death Valley Girls being among the nearly five dozen musical acts on this year’s palette.

Additionally, the festival incorporates projection and installation artists along with film screenings to engage more senses than merely the aural. DJ sets by featured musical artists also contribute to the fest’s desired vibe of creating a boutique environment commensurate with the location upon which it all takes place. The Institute of Mentalphysics, a 420-acre retreat center sitting atop the confluence of three aquifers, and which itself has been shown to possess a measurable magnetic field, lies just a few miles from Joshua Tree National Park. Adjacent to the multiple festival stages on the Institute’s grounds are garden paths and labyrinths, and its location and timing will make for some dark skies and warm Mojave nights.

Desert Daze offers varying admission and VIP options, as well as camping and cottage rental options. To view the full lineup of artists and events and see admission options, visit

-Shaun Astor

About Shaun Astor

Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations. Check out his work at

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