House, techno and love: The foundations that imprint and model Desert Hearts is based on. Aside from spinning techno and home, the neighborhood exudes love, whether or not it’s for folks from completely different walks of life, comparable ethos, these nonetheless discovering themselves and extra.
I’m an attendee of earlier Desert Heart occasions, however this 12 months was my first time attending their pageant. While there, I discovered one thing I had by no means discovered earlier than. I’ve gone to my fair proportion of music festivals in my day, however I’ve by no means been surrounded by a neighborhood so rooted in love, understanding, kindness, freeness, positivity, acceptingness and extra. There was one thing completely different within the air that’s incomparable to different occasions.
Here, two of the Desert Hearts founders, Mikey Lion and Marbs—Lee Reynolds and Porky are the opposite two founders—share with Forbes how they describe the model in three phrases, how the pageant has modified over their years, their favourite factor of being a part of the Desert Hearts household and extra.
Lisa Kocay: Can you describe Desert Hearts in three phrases?
Mikey Lion: “Family, love, freedom of expression.”
Marbs: “Conscious, community, intention.”
Kocay: Can you elaborate extra on what intention means?
Marbs: “I think people come here to explore their minds and explore what life can be outside of the normal grind. I think people leave with this idea that these experiences and the connections that they have with people don’t have to live just in [this] experience, [but] can be taken home, passed on and rippled out in our day-to-day lives.”
Kocay: How has Desert Hearts modified through the years?
Mikey Lion: “Well, it began as a 200 individual little gathering within the [Mojave], and it simply organically grew right into a pageant. We by no means meant for it to be a pageant or had intentions of making one thing this huge once we first began it. It form of developed its personal character, following and neighborhood round it, that we felt accountable to maintain it going as a result of it was simply…essentially the most lovely factor that we have ever been part of. So through the years it went from being a renegade social gathering to being held on personal land in Apple Valley, an Indian reservation at La Jolla, again to Apple Valley [and] then to Los Coyotes Indian reservation. And now in its tenth 12 months, [we’re] right here at Lake Perris.
“We just knew after the pandemic and this three year break that we were on that we needed to move in a new direction and find somewhere that we could grow that our family would really appreciate. And when we found this venue—everything just clicked.”
Marbs: “It looks like the universe has mirrored it again to us. I believe it is attracted a variety of wonderful people. The demographic is so particular and so widespread, so far as folks from all walks of life. And it form of turns right into a magnet yearly—we get blown away at what number of extra artistic and acutely aware folks come right here to expertise what everybody’s experiencing. And it simply appears to be its personal organism. The neighborhood has change into so robust and highly effective. It’s the spine to this entire factor, and seeing a neighborhood develop 12 months after 12 months and simply making folks take pleasure in their life, then seeing them exterior of the pageant, operating into them on the town and listening to how a lot it has impacted their wellbeing and the best way they have a look at the world—that is the true ticket for me.
“We’re all music heads and we’re deejays, and that’s where it started. But the stories of people coming out to their families about their sexuality, quitting hard drugs and kicking their addictions, finding their wife and all those stories that happened around Desert Hearts, that’s really what we think we’re doing and what we hope we’re doing: spreading positivity and impacting the world in a positive manner, even if it is on a [small] scale. We think it all starts with the individual. So if each individual is getting better in becoming a better version of themselves through positive experiences, that’s a small chip away at making the world a better place. I think that’s what it’s evolved into.”
Kocay: So far this 12 months for the pageant, what have been a few of your favourite recollections?
Marbs: “I’m closely concerned within the logistics. I at all times have been. So for the lead as much as the pageant within the first week, whereas we’re organising, I’m very pulled in a number of instructions. So there’s at all times a second the place I get to step out of that and transition into settling into the expertise. And on Thursday evening, once we had the seaside stage happening, my actually good good friend Evan Casey, whom I do Desert Hearts Black [with], had his set. And earlier this 12 months through the pandemic, we made an EP the place our good good friend Katie [Kilbride] sang on vocals. She got here up on stage throughout [Casey’s] set, and we deliberate to do reside vocals together with her. So we had this second of me serving to her on the voice transformer, operating the reverb and all these items for her vocals.
“And she was singing while [Casey] was playing and it was that moment for me. It was like, ‘Oh man, we came out of the pandemic. This is something we created during it. And now we’ve waited three years to be back at Desert Hearts.’ I’m getting to have this experience with them performing music that we created with a friend who’s singing live for the first time on stage. It was a super special moment for all of us, I think. And then on Friday when the Heart Stage turned on, I got in the booth, and this is such a big venue. We didn’t know if it was [going to] feel full or what—it’s just so massive. When I got in the booth and I saw the view from the booth, I had tears in my eyes. It was the moment that I had been missing and dreaming of this whole time that we’ve been away. It was really special and an affirmation of all the hard work that we have done.”
Kocay: Over the previous years, what have been a few of your favourite recollections?
Mikey Lion: “The very first sunrise set that we had at Desert Hearts was when it was even just a little 200 person renegade in the Mojave. That was one of my very favorite moments because it was like that moment of triumph. I think every time that we make it through the night at Desert Hearts and into the next day, there is that moment of glory where everyone’s on the same wavelength. The family’s just feeling completely connected to one another. And we’re watching the sunrise together while we’re listening to music, all dancing to the same beat. It’s very tribalistic and it feels completely right with being a human being.”
Kocay: What’s in your important packing checklist for Desert Hearts?
Mikey Lion: “Definitely wild and crazy costumes. I think fashion and freedom of expression is a huge part of our festival. Whether it’s art, whether it’s fashion or just any other type of way that expresses yourself, it’s something that we’ve always encouraged here. So bringing your best festival gear is definitely a must.”
Marbs: “Multiple pairs of sneakers. Your ft will harm, [so] change these issues out. Making certain you may have some issues that make you’re feeling at residence. I keep in an RV, however we’ll convey a few of our crystals. We’ll adorn it out and be sure that while you return residence after partying and having enjoyable that you’ve a protected area that makes you’re feeling form of centered and picked up.
“You need to make sure when you’re resting that you have the things to make your body heal while you’re resting. Clothes for all weather—we’ve had the hottest of days, snow [and] hail.”
Kocay: What’s the perfect factor about being a part of the Desert Hearts household?
Marbs: “Desert Hearts has impacted my life. I do it with my best friends. I’ve found a way to have a living and have purpose in my life with the people that I love. What else can I ask for? That’s what I think we’re all looking for, is to find a way to be sustainable and happy where work doesn’t feel like work. This is not work at all. At the end of the day, this is my life and my soul. So to be able to be surrounded by the people that I love and creating something like this, I’m just so grateful that my path led me to [this.]”
Mikey Lion: “Desert Hearts has given me my total life. My brother is a associate. My spouse, [whom] I’ve been with for 10 years. Our total good friend group is rooted in Desert Hearts. Pretty a lot everybody I do know is ultimately concerned in Desert Hearts at this level. It’s one thing that has given a lot function to my life and a lot function to so many individuals right here. I believe people are tribalistic by nature and for lots of people, the tribe that they discover is like their sports activities group or one thing that they really feel part of.
“I think that that’s my favorite part is that we’re all coming together with this common goal of creating love and spreading that positive energy and that goal of becoming the best versions of ourselves. It’s truly incredible to me.”