Desert Hearts, Summer Love, and Hit Music at The Torch
With its unique and memorable blend of top-charting house music, EDM hits, and Burning Man-esque art, dancing, and visual installments on display, Desert Hearts has made a major name for itself in Southern California’s live music scene since it first began in 2012. Founders Mikey Lion and the rest of the Desert Hearts crew, Marbs, Lee Reynolds, and Porky, all bring trademark DJ skills and years of practice throwing the best parties in Southern California to the table, making this one of the top events every year.
For 2023, the Desert Hearts Festival just wrapped up from May 6-7, putting on a spectacular weekend show that had the crowds going wild. With a surprise venue change from their usual more outdoorsy setting to the iconic LA Coliseum’s open-air venue, The Torch, it was a one of a kind experience that turned out to be a hit with both the artists and the crowds.
Underground House, Love, and Techno at Desert Hearts
When Mikey Lion was struck with the idea for his brainchild music festival, house music was still in its infancy. But with Skrillex, Fred Again, and Four Tet performing a thunderous closing set at Coachella with what he describes as “non-commercial” music, underground house and a more complex, diverse style of EDM seems to be making an impression on the scene. In this sense, Desert Hearts was ahead of its time.
Veterans of the scene recall the inception of Desert Hearts at Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in San Diego, then moving to Lake Perris in Riverside County for 2022. This year, to provide the best experience possible, they moved to a downtown location at The Torch, aiming to give ticket holders more bang for their buck. While the venue for next time seems to be up in the air still, Desert Hearts has big plans for the future and is set to be a staple in the live music scene for years to come.
When the four Desert Hearts crew members listed above get on stage, it’s easy to see how comfortable they have become with performing for large crowds. The thousands of people watching don’t seem to phase them anymore with over ten years of experience putting on this festival. One of the trademark aspects of it is the lighthearted banter and jokes you can expect from the Desert Hearts crew.
That’s the main focus, and the purpose of the “heart” theme and iconography found liberally throughout the venue. Like most festivals, they place a strong emphasis on forming connections, making friends, and the healing, uniting aspects of music. The difference with Desert Hearts is the quality and street cred of the underground house and techno artists that perform.
Performers at Desert Hearts 2023
Desert Hearts provides a carefully curated selection of artists that includes the best from both underground and mainstream techno and house. However, there is a strong focus on the underground aspect, which has lent an air of legitimacy to the festival that others, like Coachella and Ultra, can strive for but often have trouble attaining.
Desert Hearts had two main stages, called Desert Hearts stage and City Hearts stage, along with vendor village, hot dog alley, a “giving tree”, and a healing sanctuary where the overwhelmed could find rest, relaxation, and hydration. There was also a Saturday afterparty and a Sunday closing party featuring the Desert Hearts crew that, no doubt, was a fun time for all.
One of the biggest musical events and most magical moments of the show was the performance by Skream. Holding the coveted Sunday night closing position for the festival, Skream is widely considered the most well-known headliner of the performers at the event. He is one of the earliest progenitors of the dubstep genre and holds a legendary place in bass music.
Some of the other exciting and highly-anticipated artists that performed this year were:
- Gene Farris
- Derrick Carter
- Mary Droppinz
- Miss Monique
- Lee Foss
- DJ Holographic
- Catz ‘n Dogz
- DJ Seinfeld
Don’t Miss Out on Desert Hearts
Whether it’s an isolated campground experience like their previous venues or a night in downtown LA at one of the most beautiful and iconic locations in the world, Desert Hearts knows how to put on a show you will never forget.
Stay on top of the news about tickets and make sure not to miss their next event, as they sell out fast! Tickets were very affordable this time, coming in at only around $119 for a starting price on the two-day passes. That’s really not a bad deal, so be sure to add this to your list for your next show.
Mikey Lion and the rest of the Desert Hearts crew have imaginations, ideas, and visions for their shows that are simply unbelievable unless you are there to see them live. Desert Hearts is one of Southern California’s homegrown treasures and provides a unique, authentic, and spiritually uplifting experience like few other festivals can.