What better way to ring in 5 years of House, Techno, Love than with an all day Sunday Funday with all of our Desert Hearts Family? Desert Hearts celebrated its 5 year anniversary on Nov. 12, 2017 in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles at Los Angeles Center Studios with its first ever City Hearts Festival. From their beginnings as a 200 person renegade in the middle of the Mojave Desert to the musical and cultural phenomenon they have exploded into, the Desert Hearts crew has stayed true to their initial cause – to bring people together, give back to the community, ignite creativity, and of course to spread love and awareness. Through many obstacles and milestones, from an M.I.A. sound crew, to the birth of the iconic Desert Hearts stage, to last minute venue changes, to permit loopholes, to finally landing at their home at Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, the spirit and momentum of Desert Hearts, and the Desert Hearts Family, has never faltered.
City Hearts Festival was the culmination of the last 5 years of hard work put in by Mikey Lion, Porkchop, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, the rest of the resident (and non-resident) DJs who have been a part of the Desert Hearts movement, and the rest of the Desert Hearts Family that continues to support every Desert Hearts/City Hearts show and festival. The event was dedicated to giving back to the homeless on Skid Row, and there was a donation station for everyone to bring anything they could to donate.
Although the day started out overcast, it did nothing to diminish the energy of everyone in attendance – if anything, the cool weather allowed everyone to go twice as hard. Porkchop got the party started right when the doors opened at 2 PM, getting everyone on the dance floor grooving immediately. As my friends and I arrived, we took in the scenery around us – the Desert Hearts vibe had been transplanted right into the urban jungle of Downtown Los Angeles. LA Center Studios has been one of my favorite venues because of the up-close and personal LA Skyline that acts as the perfect backdrop for the venue. There was live art, food, vendors, discussion panels, a bar, and Pile Palace was built on top of the steps overlooking the dance-floor, for maximum viewing and piling pleasure.
Doc Martin and Marques Wyatt took over at 3:30 for their surprise back-to-back performance, which elevated the party to the next level. As the sun began to set, the overcast sky exploded with a thousand shades of pink, gold, and purple – one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The reflective buildings in the backdrop drank up the pink, purple, and gold stained sky to add to the already magical scenery. It was incredible! While the sun faded further into the west and night crept up on us, the lights came on and the disco heart came out. Lee Reynolds was on at 5, and sent everyone dancing into the dark as the last rays of light fled beyond the horizon. Marbs took the stage at 6:30, his dark vibes perfectly matching with the pitch black sky. At this point, the crowd was beginning to hit its peak. Dancers on stilts patrolled the dance floor with light-up hearts and the light-up DH sign while flow artists and hoopers busted out their light-up flow tools and hoops. A crowd of beautiful people getting down together on the dance floor, surrounded by lights, flow art, and the Desert Hearts energy all around us – it was quite the scene. Mikey Lion pumped up the party even higher when he took over the decks at 8, watching the atmosphere he helped pioneer unfold before his eyes. I had the opportunity to climb on stage and get a Mikey’s-eye-view during his set and let me tell you, every single person in the crowd looked beautiful! All six of the DJs who played got a turn to spin for the last 30 mins, turning up the volume just a little bit louder and going just a little bit harder to give us one last good taste. As the last track faded out, they thanked the Desert Hearts Fam for coming out to support, and snapped a picture with the crowd, exclaiming their love and gratitude for 5 years of House, Techno, Love.
All in all, it was an extraordinary day filled with endless beats and unlimited love. Each and every Desert Hearts event feels like one big family reunion where I get to see and spend time with all of my favorite people, in one central place. There really is no other vibe out there like it. Now the wait is on until Desert Hearts Festival, coming in Spring 2018.
FEATURED PHOTO BY HALEY BUSCH