About This Festival
Joshua Tree National Park—home of the eponymous and quirky-looking yucca brevifolia tree species—has served as inspiration for musicians, poets, and thinkers through the ages. Its colorful history, beautiful scenery, and unique flora and fauna translate into a place with an elevated consciousness and a metaphysical vibe. One would hope that its namesake festival would live up to the mythology of its location, and Joshua Tree Music Festival certainly does.
Independently produced and drawing about 4,000 attendees, this music-and-art-focused event has a homey, intimate feel. Twice a year, it’s put on by a group of committed family and friends who operate on the idea that “music is the soul of life, and that art enriches and saves lives.”
Unlike festivals with glitzy VIP tents and high-paid headliners with large entourages, there’s no separation between artist and audience here, creating a family-oriented and inclusive vibe that’s as inviting as it is down to earth. To add to the family-centric nature of the festival, kids under the age of 10 get in free, and the festival’s “Kid Zone” is geared toward families who are camping with children.
You won’t see the well-known artists of Coachella or Outside Lands on the lineup for Joshua Tree—or even hear Joshua Tree’s musicians on the radio, for that matter. Organizers pride themselves on presenting a collection of performers that many attendees will be hearing for the first time, with the hope that people will go home with a new favorite act that they discovered in the desert.
There are two stages on the grounds, but unlike most festivals, the musical acts alternate between the two stages, eliminating every festival-goer’s perennial problem: trying to figure out what to see and when. In addition to not having to stress about missing performances, attendees praise the fact that the music-viewing area is well-protected by shade cloth, meaning you can dance and party for longer than if you were in direct sunlight—an important matter considering the powerful desert sun. The smaller crowds mean you can get close to the stage, and sight lines are good throughout the grounds.
Of course, this wouldn't be Joshua Tree if it were just about the music. An entire component of the festival is devoted to forging community connections and developing self-awareness. The organizers intend that you leave Joshua Tree feeling recharged and rejuvenated, not drained or overextended. With a full yoga schedule—more than a dozen instructors lead classes over the duration of the festival—attendees can stretch their bodies as much as they stretch their minds.
In addition, a collection of visual artists create and display their works, exhibiting everything from painted murals and sculptures to projected visuals and performances. A world market features handmade goods, local crafts, clothing, and organic food and drinks, all with a focus on the sustainable and locally sourced.