Desert Daze 2018
Moreno Beach; Lake Perris, CA
2018 saw Southern California’s psychedelic freakout fest Desert Daze reaching its highest highs, as well as it lowest lows. Between a change in venue, a drastic boost in attendance, and an unfortunate weather-related catastrophe, this year’s festivities tested its attendee’s patience in more ways than one. And yet, in spite of some serious mishaps, Desert Daze amazingly managed to pull through for yet another wild weekend, proving yet again why it’s one of the more unique, all-in-one festival experiences out there today.
For a festival that prides itself on its good vibes, this year’s Desert Daze started out on a pretty harsh note. Day 1 was basically a disaster, with the line just to get into the parking lot taking a solid three and a half hours, and that’s after driving two hours from L.A. to get to the festival’s new home of Moreno Beach in Lake Perris, CA. We didn’t even make it into the campgrounds until around 6 PM, and by the time we had settled into our campsite, we only had time to try and catch Tame Impala’s headlining set that night. Little did we know that the travesties were only beginning; less than 10 minutes into Tame Impala’s set, the band was rushed offstage by a sound guy who informed us that there was a freak lightning storm headed straight in our direction, and that we essentially had to get the fuck out. Cue the pouring rain (as well as a frantic series of text alerts warning us to not take shelter under trees, buildings, or tents — leaving us where exactly?), and Day 1 amounted to one of the most ridiculous series of events that’s happened to me at a music festival.
But from there, the clouds hanging over the weekend surprisingly cleared up. I must admit that I was skeptical of the festival moving from Joshua Tree — one of the most legendary parks in America — to the middle of San Bernardino, but Moreno Beach was an absolute dream. Getting to go for a swim in between sets was lovely and once again proved Desert Daze’s affinity for offering much more to festival-goers than just a series of stages to hustle between before driving back to the hotel for the night. Between all the colorful art installations, the bountiful camping accommodations, and the silly activities in the Mystic Bazaar, Desert Daze is a fun festival to hang out at for three days, to say nothing of their penchant for booking an expansive range of artists stretching from Julia Holter to Slowdive to Earth to Death Grips.
The prices are still more expensive than they should be, but there’s something about going from floating in a lake to basking in the apocalyptic noise of My Bloody Valentine that’s hard to beat. Take a look at our photos from this year, and see if you can catch a vibe or two.
Words by Sam Goldner, Photos by Stephanie Riesco