Express Yourself! Desert Hearts Announces DJ Themes

Article by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus

Tue March 21, 2017 | 22:42 PM

"We are all Desert Hearts." That's core message of the intimate gathering of house, techno, and love known as Desert Hearts in Southern California. The 3,000-plus seasoned partiers who come each year are fueled by 72 hours of non-stop beats coming from the festival's one stage where cutting-edge DJs unveil their sonic creations, creating a dominant vibe of fun and freedom.

However, this singular of focus goes far beyond the dance floor and permeates the entire festival grounds. Like many fests in the alternative California scene, there is visionary live painting, vendors hawking fancy clothing and accessories, funky campsites and, of course, the dance floor where everyone moves and shakes. Everfest's Creative Director Eamon Armstrong described it best the first time he attended Desert Hearts: "...there’s a special quality in this particular 3,000 person event, something poignant and subtle and properly magical. It’s something in the vibe, which is safe and friendly, yet wild and free. We’re all having an exceptional time and there’s no feeling of danger or judgment. The attendees look fabulous and express themselves with righteous dance moves but there is no dividing sense of popularity or coolness." When everyone is unified under the Desert Hearts vibe, everyone feels free to engage in radical self-expression.

Desert Hearts Spring 2016 Galen Oakes   01

Photo by: Galen Oakes

One of Desert Hearts' unique traditions that plays a vital role in cultivating an impeccable vibe is the recent creation and introduction of props and themes for DJ sets. These props are pieces of art that set the tone on the dance floor. They are a physical representation of the One Vibe mentality that DH stands for, making attendees feel included and DJs feel the love. Notable past props include serving bacon on platters for Porkchop, handing out gold cacti and trophies for Lee’s Freezing Gold set, Going Bananas for Monkey Safari, and spreading donuts throughout the dance floor for DinkNDonuts.

Desert Hearts Props Porkchop

Flying Pig props soar in the background of Porkchop's set. Photo by: Desert Hearts

These interactive art pieces have come to be something festival attendees expect and look forward to collecting; often people to take them home, make them their own and bring them back to Desert Hearts events. In order to take this special tradition to the next level in 2017 Desert Hearts crew is announcing the themes ahead of time so everyone can come prepared to participate to the fullest.

"Props connect the crowd to the performer," says attendee Samantha Wellnitz. "They enhance and liven up the crowd by turning the focus not only to the stage, but to the people within the party. These props start conversations, break out dance moves, and help the audience get to know a little more about the person they seeing on stage.”

Desert Hearts 2015 Galen Oakes People   11

Photo by: Galen Oakes

Each Desert Hearts DJ has a theme for their set and attendees are encouraged to bring props, outfits, interactive experience, anything they see fit to contribute to the transformation of the dance floor to the theme as they interpret it.

So without further ado, here are the Spring 2017 themes:

Mikey Lion: Deep in the Jungle (A throwback to the original “Jungle” themed parties the crew threw before forming Desert Hearts)
Porkchop: When Pigs Fly (Porky’s mascot is the Unipork, 50% unicorn, 50% pig, 100% sparkle. When Uniporks fly, anything is possible!)
Lee Reynolds: Over the Black Rainbow (Lee and his wife Zoe just opened up their second store, located in Los Angeles, this past year, called Black Rainbow. It's the inspiration for Lee’s theme)
Marbs: Marbie Barbie Army (Retired Barbies are given a second chance at life as they charge the dance floor for Marbs set)

Desert Hearts Props Marbie Barbie

Barbies carried by fans of Marbs. Photo by: Desert Hearts

Many other DJs also will have themes as well (Drinks with Dink, Rybo Rave, Justin Martin Pizza Party) and of course, attendees are encouraged to create themes of their own as well to show their support for their favorite artists.

Desert Hearts encourages upcycling and reusing materials. Make items that will last and can be brought back year after year! Avoid MOOPY materials, as this is a Leave No Trace event. And please, no laserbeams.

“Silly inside jokes make up the culture of the Desert Hearts community," says Desert Hearts crew member Mikey Lion. "Themes and props are a great way to express those and bring everyone together into this wild and magical wonderland. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!” 

See you and your props on the dance floor!

Desert Hearts takes place on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in Southern California from March 31-April 3, 2017.