The girl squad; Kay, Kayla, Jen and I flew into L.A. on Wednesday morning for Desert Daze, a psych-rock music festival in Joshua Tree, California.
The 6 days that followed were a series of wild events in the west.
Touch down in L.A. 10 AM Wednesday morning
Kill it in Hollywood Wednesday night
Pick up our campervan from Escape Rentals Thursday Morning
Drive three hours west to Joshua Tree
Melt for three days in the desert listening to Rock N Roll
Make it back to L.A. by 10 AM on Monday morning to return the van
Play on Venice Beach for the day
Catch the red-eye back to Detroit --- and for myself and Kay, make it back to Manoogian Hall at Wayne State for our morning classes.
Outside of those set plans, the world was free to unfold in front of us.
The first night in L.A. we stayed in an Airbnb in Koreatown. Making our way from LAX to “K-town” with overpacked luggage was a damn joke. I have never been so thankful to see an empty studio apartment with four bunk beds in my entire life. The Airbnb was not glamorous but it was safe, relatively clean and in a great location. I would recommend it to another group traveling to L.A. on a budget and planning to spend more time out of the room than in, I would also recommend bringing your own towel.
We rented an Escape Campervan for the festival and it was a mind-blowingly convenient experience. Where to even start… the van is hand-painted by artists in L.A.. It’s big enough to comfortably sleep three inside with an additional two in the roof tent, yet small enough to drive like a normal SUV. The backseat is a couch, table, and bench that fold into a queen-sized bed. Open the two trunk doors and there is a small kitchenette complete with sink, stove top (YES propane is provided), refrigerator and storage.
On top of the van’s built-in amenities, Escape goes the extra mile (no pun intended) and provides bedding, silverware, plates, cups, and LAWNCHAIRS. My head was spinning off my body I was so impressed with the setup. I thought we were going into the desert completely unprepared. Thanks to Escape, we were over-prepared and had one of the best camping set-ups at the festival. And no, this is not a paid sponsorship, I am THAT elated with the company and feel obligated to spread the good word.
I went into Desert Daze knowing little to nothing about the festival aside from the fact that Detroit Daddy, Iggy Pop, was headlining.
Wednesday night in LA, people had a lot of promising things to say about Desert Daze. Apparently, “it’s the best festival for Rock N’ Roll in California,” according to Sam Lopez from Lone Wolf.
Driving into the festival grounds on Friday morning, it was very obvious that industry influencers made-up majority of the crowd. This was a festival to see and be seen.
The sun was hot, but the people were hotter. Everyone looked like they just stepped out of a music video and hitchhiked to Joshua Tree, singing MGMT on the way.
Luckily, your girls did not come to play. We served some major looks and put Detroit's fashion scene on the map.
The best part: looks were being served and looks were being sold. There was an amazing collection of thrifted and vintage vendors selling IRL Instagram looks worthy of celebrity Coachella posts.
Queen of the vendors: Pussy Power House gets a standing ovation for their presence at the festival. The girl oasis, posted in the center of the marketplace, was one of my favorite spots throughout the weekend. The girls win MVP from me. Their goods, their dance parties, and their vibes made the festival a better place.
The L.A. based collective brings everything good and glamorous about women empowerment into one unified space. Founder, Corinne Loperfido, makes the wildest accessories I’ve ever seen- her handmade headdress lured me in from across the bizarre.
Wonder Wears the Gold, a quirky brand of handmade “wonderwear” by Sarah Harris, was adorably original.
On top of selling- in my opinion- the dopest goods at the festival, Pussy Power House was a safe space to re-energize, connect and dance your heart out. The Detroit ladies and I had a great time dropping some jaws at the Beyonce-fueled dance party.
Stay tuned, I am dead set on connecting Pussy Power House with Seraphine Collective for an L.A. meets Detroit collaborative event.
Aside from Iggy Pop on Saturday night, I was very oblivious to the lineup and made no effort to see anyone in particular which left me free to roam and discover new music. I’m a techno/house gal myself and know next to nothing about rock. I saw Desert Daze as an opportunity to get acquainted with the genre.
First and foremost, our very own Iggy Pop has proven himself (once again) as the king of rock. At 70 year’s old, Iggy Pop put on the best performance of the weekend, read the Los Angeles Times write-up here. Running from one side of the stage to the next and thrusting his way back, he kept the crowd wanting more...and then gave us more with a stellar, three-song encore.
The Babe Rainbow was another one of my favorites. The group of psychedelic surfer boys makes music that sounds like sunshine. They were right up my alley; upbeat, psychedelic and fun. I will be listening to their music on repeat for the next few weeks.
The festival was enhanced with art installations throughout the grounds; glitter, gold, and neon lights illuminated interactive sculptures and spaces. The installations were my favorite part of the festival. I loved walking through the art park and playing in the maze of neon lights and glittery goodness.
The first night in L.A., David aka Sharktoof -one of the muralists I met during Murals in the Market- took us to a popular bar called Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. The vintage-influenced bar was filled with an ideal amount of people, had a picturesque outdoor space and played quality oldies like “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. As David said, it’s not a bar for locals, but it’s a great place to take visitors.
After, we went to meet friends at Dirty Laundry. The space looked cool (and had a plethora of stunning bartenders in suspenders) but the predominantly hip-hop playlist was not my vibe. It definitely seemed like the type of place people from out of town go to, while locals avoid like the plague. I lasted about twenty minutes in the jam-packed bar before heading back to Davey Wayne's.
Food Worth Mentioning:
After braving L.A. public transit with our suitcases, we were famished. Down the street from our Koreatown Airbnb was a promising-looking restaurant called Shabu Noodles. We went in completely disoriented and confused by the menu and settled on vegetarian pot of broth, not knowing what to expect. It was the best ordering mistake I’ve ever made! If you find yourself in Koreatown looking for a place to eat, head to Shabu Noodles and order the vegetarian shabu. It was my first time having Korean food and I was culture shocked in the best way possible by the experience. Three courses are made and served from a pot in the middle of the table, a delicious broth starts the meal. After the pot is about half way empty, noodles are added and cooked in the pot. Finally, the last of the broth is used to make stir-fried rice that will send you into a delightful food coma.
The last night in L.A., David met us in Venice Bean at On the Waterfront Cafe for a round of Hefeweizens, giant pretzels, and fish n chips. David poetically explained, “It’s the last property on the Boardwalk that you can see the sunset from start to finish”. We cheers’ed to a great vacation and basked in the glory of our of newly-made memories.
My trip to California was more inspiring and motivational than relaxing. It’s got me thinking, what’s next in the travel blogosphere? Art Basel in Miami comes to mind….