The indie-rock festival Desert Daze is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this September when it hits the Lake Perris State Recreation Area in Perris.
In celebration, this year's lineup features headliners Tame Impala, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and rock icon Iggy Pop. Other notable acts such as Chicano Batman, Perfume Genius, Sleaford Mods, BADBADNOTGOOD and many others will also perform. The festival runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
Three-day general admission passes at $399 and VIP packages from $749 to $1,999 are available at desertdaze.org
Here are 10 things to love about Desert Daze:
It started in Desert Hot Springs
Desert Daze began in 2012 as an 11-day event at Dillon's Burgers & Beers Restaurant in Desert Hot Springs with performances by the indie bands Dengue Fever, Dead Meadow, Allah Las, local band Slipping Into Darkness and more.
The festival moved the following year to Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca, where it was held until 2015, then moved again in 2016 to the Institute of Mentalphysics in Joshua Tree. In 2018, Desert Daze moved 45 miles west of Palm Springs to the Lake Perris State Recreation Area.
Founded by a musician
Desert Daze was founded by JJUUJJUU frontman Phil Pirrone, who is known for putting on high-energy rock 'n' roll sets, but when he's done performing at the festival, he's immersed in its operations.
“Playing (live music) is such an amazing feeling, and it's all worth it once we're up there doing it," Pirrone told The Desert Sun in 2021. "The 40 minutes we're on stage goes by (quickly), but then I have my walkie-talkie right there and it’s back to work and I'm almost relieved when I get it out of the way."
Julie Edwards Pirrone (Pirrone's wife) has also performed as the drummer of the all-female band Deap Vally at the festival in previous years.
Lake Perris State Recreation Area has much to offer
Lake Perris features a beach, recreation areas, paved parking lots, boating, hiking and more. The setting provides a more laid-back atmosphere among attendees compared to other festivals. There's panoramic views of the mountains, a beach, plenty of trees providing shade, grass to lay a blanket and lustrous sunsets in the evening.
However, there's a costly drawback to throwing a festival at a state park. Festivalgoers don't need to worry about a long walk to and from the gates, but in lieu of the park's standard entry fee, there's a daily parking fee of $45 or a weekend pass at $125. The site's mountainous terrain also limits cell phone reception.
During the fall, daytime temperatures at Lake Perris are around 80 degrees, but can go down to the 50s at night, so it's best to dress appropriately for both warm and cooler temperatures.
An ideal location
The drive to Lake Perris is an hour from Palm Springs, 40 minutes from Riverside, just over an hour from Los Angeles (depending on traffic) and 90 minutes from San Diego — making it an easy trip for all Southern California locals.
A festival for music lovers
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival are some of the nation's largest festivals, and they feature many international artists across multiple genres. Many world argue these festivals are too expensive, overcrowded and focus too much on social media influencers.
Desert Daze has never released attendance figures for any of its previous iterations — and, when contacted, a representative said it wouldn't release any statistics this year either — but it's definitely not a six-digit capacity festival. After attending the festival at Lake Perris two times, my personal estimate is 8,000 people on its busiest day.
The festival is heavily focused on rock music with some surprises like actor Fred Armisen announcing The Flaming Lips and underground musician and singer Ian Svenonius making an appearance to read Desert Daze fan mail before introducing Stereolab.
Many artists and bands played the festival before prominence
Some indie-rock bands and artists performed at the festival before or during a rise to prominence. The New Zealand rock outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra played in 2015 a month before its most successful album to date, "Multi-Love," was released and climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
Bands such as Warpaint, DIIV, Khruangbin and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard also appear on past lineup posters in smaller print and then higher up on the bill or headliner status in subsequent years.
Exclusive sets and performances
Some bands and artists have tossed aside those regular setlists they've put together for every date on a tour for exclusive sets of their most prolific or well-known albums in their entirety. In 2019, the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan performed its 1993 album "Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)," The Flaming Lips delivered a colorful and hypnotic set of "The Soft Bulletin" from start to finish and the rock band Ween played through its 1994 album "Chocolate and Cheese."
Devo, an ’80s new wave band played what was billed as a possibile last performance in 2019, but appeared at last year's Riot Fest in Chicago and in May at the Cruel World festival in Los Angeles.
This year, Australian rock band Tame Impala is performing its 2012 breakthrough album "Lonerism" and Desert Daze is featuring the only U.S. date of the year for rock legend Iggy Pop.
A little bit of Hollywood
Desert Daze isn't a festival where you'll find any of Hollywood's A-list hanging out in the crowd, but it has featured some from the film world on stage. In 2014, independent filmmaker, actor and musician Vincent Gallo, known for the films "Buffalo ’66" and "The Brown Bunny," performed as a headliner and closed out the festival. Little is known about the performance due to a lack of reviews or photos, but Ericka Clevenger of Ladygunn described it as a "powerful performance."
During the first night of the 2021 festival, comedian and actor Tim Heidecker performed his album "Fear of Death" with singer-songwriter Weyes Blood.
"Elvis & Nixon" and "Lords of Chaos" actress Sky Ferreira is scheduled to perform at this year's event. Ferreira, who was once romantically involved with DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith, released her debut album "Night Time, My Time" in 2013. Her new album "Masochism" has an unannounced release date, but Ferreira released the single "Don't Forget" in May.
The art is majestic
Desert Daze doesn't pour the same amount of resources to create the massive artworks of Coachella or Bonnaroo, but its installations are just as majestic. This year's festival lineup includes large scale installations by Non Plus Ultra, Brad Hansen and more.
Palm Springs artist Cristopher Cichocki is also returning to the festival with "Circular Dimensions," a live laboratory of colorful video illustrations produced with digital microscopes. Cichocki was a featured artist at Coachella last April with a 50-foot pavilion made of 25,000 feet of PVC pipe.
You can go for a single day
A major complaint about many music festivals is there are no 1-day passes for sale, forcing festivalgoers to purchase a pass for the entire duration of the event, but that's not the case with Desert Daze. A 1-day GA pass for Friday and Sunday is $159, and Saturday is $179. VIP day passes are available from $399 to $799.
In addition to 1-day passes, Desert Daze has a variety of camping and hotel experiences available. Passholders can rent an RV ready upon arrival for $2,999 to $3,999, Airstream trailers from $3,299 to $4,299, a stout tent for $1,699. For those who want to keep it within a budget, general camping is $99 and a car camping add-on is available for $179.
Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment for the Desert Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @bblueskye.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Desert Daze 2022: 10 things to love about the Lake Perris music fest