Desert Hearts magic descended on Los Angeles this past weekend during their first ever two-day City Hearts festival. All of the art, fashion, house, techno, and love that makes the Desert Hearts community so special was out in full force at El Pueblo Historic Monument, right in the middle of downtown LA.
City Hearts is an urban distillation of the crew’s flagship festival, which takes place every April at Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in Southern California. Like all Desert Hearts festivals, this past weekend’s event was more of an immersive experience than a straightforward music festival. City Hearts allows those who may not be able to make it to the main festival or be up for the challenge of camping to fully immerse themselves in the Desert Hearts community. In previous years the event has touched down in Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Tulum, and Miami, among others.
The lineup was especially unique this time around, comprised mainly of B2B sets with the Desert Hearts guys- Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Porky, and Marbs- and some of their favorite artists.
The festival kicked off Saturday with a deep house yoga and sound healing session. Some funky and groovy music from Wyatt Marshall, Kate Simko, and Porky followed this until Marbs and his Desert Hearts Black crew of Evan Casey and Rinzen took over the decks at sunset. Their darker, mind-bending techno set was the perfect soundtrack as the sky grew darker and darker, with a beautifully illuminated Union Station emerging in the background.
Listen to Marbs and Evan Casey:
A quick scan of the crowd at any Desert Hearts event is all it takes to realize how much the fans contribute to the atmosphere and City Hearts was no exception.
From over-the-top, ultra-creative outfits to homemade light up wearables to hilarious totems, being on a Desert Hearts dance floor is a full-on sensory overload experience. While there is something colorful and shiny at every turn, the most impressive thing to see might be how kind people treat one another at a Desert Hearts event. Positive energy and happiness radiate through the air, bringing everyone together in a celebration of love and music.
A handful of artists surrounded the dance floor, working on their newest pieces as observers watched in awe. The amount of art, from paintings to light installations to interactive experiences, was remarkable for the size of the festival. Food trucks, vendors, and theme camps lined the back of the venue, offering attendees a change of pace from the dance floor. Pile Palace, a camp that “specializes in the fine art of relaxation” where dancers can take a break on their luxurious couches and plush cushions, was in its usual spot just steps from the stage.
Listen to Andreas Henneberg:
Unlike the main festival, the music does not go continuously through the weekend and had to wind down at some point. Tiga ended the night with a dynamic set, showing off the variety of the styles he dabbles in. Mikey Lion joined him on stage at the end of the night, presenting him with a Desert Hearts necklace.
The vibes were going strong Sunday afternoon as fans trickled in, still riding the energy from Day 1. While the music Saturday was a bit more on the experimental and trippy side, Sunday’s sets were ultra-dancey. Lauren Lane swooped in at the last minute to replace Nathan Barato in a B2B with Porky and together the duo threw down one of the best sets of the weekend. Mikey Lion’s selection of funkier tech-house tunes flowed seamlessly with Andreas Henneberg’s edgier tracks. The fashion show went down in the middle of the dance floor during this epic B2B, showcasing the radical self-expression that Desert Hearts strongly encourages. Lee Reynolds B2B Doc Martin followed with another energetic, crowd-pleasing set. Despite it being Sunday evening, the dance floor was packed through the last minute when Patrick Topping closed out the night, a true testament to the loyalty of Desert Hearts fans.
Listen to Porky:
The endless amount of things to see and do made it nearly impossible to absorb it all in just two days. However, this is something that makes Desert Hearts festivals so special and memorable. From the large scale art installations to the minute details to the fashion, each person will have their own unique experience depending on what they encounter and how they interpret it. Finding something meaningful to you in a corner of the festival and connecting with new people or sharing your encounters with friends who were on a different journey at the time are all part of the Desert Hearts experience.
Listen to Kate Simko:
It’s evident the Desert Hearts crew poured their hearts and souls into this one. Their dedication combined with the energy the community brings creates a festival unlike any other in the world. Not only did they instigate a great time, but in this weekend alone the DH family donated 1582 lbs of canned food for the less fortunate. Undoubtably, the impact of Desert Hearts events will make this world a better place. Now, whats next? Keep sharing the good vibes until we can recharge at the next event.