Desert Daze 2022: How does the rock festival stack up against Coachella?

Attendees and organizers of the Desert Daze music festival celebrated its 10th anniversary over the weekend with headliners King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Tame Impala and Beach House putting on enjoyable, well-received sets.

The buzz surrounding Desert Daze each fall presents the question of whether the festival is on its way to becoming as distinguished and internationally prevalent as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

More: Desert Daze 2022: King Gizzard invigorates festival; Sky Ferriera is late to the party

The major difference between the two festivals is Desert Daze draws an estimated 10,000 attendees compared to over 100,000 during a single weekend at Coachella. But Desert Daze outgrew three locations over the past decade before settling at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area.

Beach House performs at Desert Daze in Lake Perris, Calif., on October 2, 2022.
Beach House performs at Desert Daze in Lake Perris, Calif., on October 2, 2022.

Another difference is in the economics. The cheapest weekend general admission pass option for Desert Daze is $299, and the same option at Coachella will cost you $499. Desert Daze also offers single-day passes — starting at $139 — while Coachella does not, making Desert Daze much more accessible to music fans eager for a festival experience but unable to cough up several hundred dollars.

Coachella embraces a diverse, younger audience, and features a lineup of the biggest pop stars in the world on the main stage, as well as well-liked and up-and-coming rock, hip-hop, rap, alternative, EDM and Latin bands on smaller stages. Desert Daze skews towards discerning music lovers of all ages that embrace rock 'n' roll and world music, but all four of its stages feature a mixture of rock, pop, rap, R&B and electronic music.

More: Desert Daze 2022: Tame Impala plays 'Lonerism'; Kikagaku Moyo makes it hard to say goodbye

During Desert Daze 2022, the crowd was a mixture of Los Angeles scenesters, old and young punk rockers wearing denim vests littered with band logos, Burning Man attendees and more taking in sets by everyone from R&B singer Lady Wray to shoegaze band Beach House.

Other non-rock acts that attracted large crowds were rapper JPEGMAFIA and notable DJs such as Silent Servant, Tomo and Telefon Tel Aviv — the latter of which tweeted that the festival was the "Most fun I’ve had DJing maybe ever."

Some of the same acts, but very different performances

For a festival that draws an estimated 10,000 people, Desert Daze appears to be just as important to notable bands and performers as Coachella, and it offers another desert festival setting an hour away at Lake Perris.

Some of the other acts featured on the main stage at Desert Daze included Viagra Boys, BADBADNOTGOOD, Chicano Batman and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — all of whom performed at Coachella in April.

Saturday's headliner, Tame Impala, also performed at Coachella in 2019 featuring a large, illuminated ring resembling a UFO, laser beams, a blast of confetti and a guest appearance by A$AP Rocky.

More: Desert Daze 2022 Photos Day 1: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Chicano Batman

In the case of Tame Impala's performance at Desert Daze, bigger doesn't mean better. Even though it was not on the same production level or stage size as Coachella, the Australian rock band performed its entire 2012 debut album "Lonerism" with colorful and stunning visuals.

In 2019, Coachella founder Paul Tollett told The Desert Sun he traveled the globe the previous year, seeking international artists that could keep the festival ahead of the competition. But Desert Daze has been featuring international music since it began, and built its prominence on featuring acts such as the Tuareg rock band Tinariwen, Japanese rock band Kikagaku Moyo and Nigerian singer-songwriter Bombino.

Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80 performing at Desert Daze in Lake Perris
Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80 performing at Desert Daze in Lake Perris

Each of the three days of Desert Daze 2022 featured several international acts such as the Algerian rock band Imarhan, African music group Cymande, Afrobeat musician Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80, Ukrainian folk band Dakhabrakha and a surprise set on Saturday by the Zambian rock band W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc). Kikagaku Moyo returned Saturday to perform at the festival while on a farewell tour.

Desert Daze is for music freaks, while Coachella is for influencers

One of the best things about Desert Daze is the festival is eccentric and not afraid to let its freak flag fly. This year, the event partnered with social change nonprofit Global Inheritance to provide attendees the opportunity to ingest a different sustainable protein source via edible insects such as chocolate-covered flying ants, beetle bread, BBQ crickets and pizza superworms.

More: Photos: Desert Daze 2022 Day 2

Whereas Desert Daze seems to attract fun-loving, commited music fans of varying backgrounds, Coachella attracts the wealthy and the famous, especially social media influencers (both actual and aspiring). The average festivalgoer at Coachella likes music, but is a bigger fan of the status that comes with posting an Instagram photo next to the festival's iconic Ferris wheel.

Take psychedelic rocker Ty Segall, who performed on Sunday with his project Fuzz, for example. He received a more enthusiastic crowd response at Desert Daze than his previous Coachella performances in 2019 and 2014.

Another difference is the festivals are hosted at vastly different venues. Coachella is held at The Empire Polo Club in Indio, which was an active polo club until 2021. Polo is historically a sport for the upper class, and remnants of grandeur can still be felt while walking near the venue's VIP areas (particularly the Rose Garden) during the festival.

But on the flip side, there's nothing grandiose about the lack of shade at the Empire Polo Club as the desert heat sets in and makes it hard to stay comfortable — unless you have a pass to one of those shaded VIP areas.

Desert Daze, however, is held at Lake Perris State Recreation Area, which features plenty of shade, a beach and lake that's open to all festivalgoers. As daytime temperatures were in the 80s throughout this year's event, the beach was busy and the lake full of attendees relaxing on inflatable floaties of all shapes and sizes.

Attendees of Desert Daze enjoy the lake at Lake Perris, Calif., on October 1, 2022.
Attendees of Desert Daze enjoy the lake at Lake Perris, Calif., on October 1, 2022.

Two different events for two different crowds

It's hard to say whether Desert Daze is on its way to gaining Coachella status, because there's still major differences between the two festivals — chief among them being target audience.

Both events have plenty going for them, but ultimately each has their own unique vibe that continues to attract different types of music consumers.

Considering the growth of Desert Daze over the past decade, and how it's featured many of the same bands as Coachella in recent years while embracing a lower capacity, there's room in the Southern California market for both festivals to thrive.

Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment for the Desert Sun. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @bblueskye.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Desert Daze 2022: How does the rock festival compare to Coachella?