Photo by Angela Holtzen

The Sights and Sounds of Desert Daze 2017

When it comes to desert parties, JJUUJJUU frontman and Desert Daze creator Phil Pirrone, throws one that Jim Morrison on peyote would approve of. In its fifth year, the niche festival continues to attract more attention across the U.S. and, in particular, in Las Vegas (an extension of the festival, Desert Caravan, made an appearance at this year’s Neon Reverb festival). Many Nevadans will head west through the dream-like landscapes to Yucca Valley on October 12–15 to catch arguably the psych fest’s best bill to date.

Thee Oh Sees Desert Daze 2016 | Photo by Angela Holtzen

“We’re very, very picky, we have a great team and we got lucky,” Pirrone says about locking down 2017’s lineup. The weekend highlights mainly psych, garage, rock ‘n’ roll and undergdound acts. Headliners such as Iggy Pop, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett with War On Drugs’ Kurt Vile, Spiritualized and Sleep are a few must-sees. And Pirrone suggests checking out under-the-radar bands such as Prettiest Eyes, Dahga Bloom, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Jerry Paper, Mr. Elevator, L.A. Witch, Fever the Ghost, Holy Wave and Froth, among others. 

Kaleidoscopic visuals will back the kaleidoscopic sounds. “[The] visual and installation artists are on the same level as the musicians at Desert Daze,” Pirrone says. They will have everything from “old school analog projections done by hand to video feedback to trees that move at night to a wonderful and freaky movie theater.” The festival collaborated with artists and projectionists such as Adult Swim, Cristopher Cichocki, Mad Alchemy liquid light show and much more that will be doing “weird visual stuff all weekend.”



Not that the location where dusty pastel sunsets silhouette the worshiping Joshua Trees isn’t visually weird already. Just over 200 miles outside of Las Vegas (a three and a half  hour drive) the Institute of Mentalphysics, a spiritual teaching and retreat center, was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Pirrone’s friend Mario Lalli of desert rock band Fatso Jetson, who he calls the “godfather of desert generator parties” introduced him to the site two years ago.

“The property rests atop a very rare geological occurrence—the meeting place of three underground aquifers,” he says. “Because of this incredible phenomenon, the site has a measurable magnetic field, which causes a palpable energetic effect on those who visit.”

So who will be visiting this October to feel the tactile energy triad of land, music and art? Pirrone calls the Desert Daze crowd “open-minded, creative, friendly lovers of rock ‘n’ roll.” 

Take a look at the recently released daily lineup below.

Desert Daze

Oct 12–15, weekend GA passes $249, desertdaze.org

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