Joshua Tree Music Fest: Vibes Among the Boulders

Journey to the desert for a Positive Vibration Station and connection of a most musical sort.

Sam English

SPRING AND SUMMER... have a happy hold on giant-hearted, village-style, music-centered encampments that spread across the West. They can be very art-oriented -- howdy, Burning Man -- or more about the tunes -- high five, Coachella -- or they can incorporate a very complete cuisine scene into the proceedings (Outside Lands, we're looking at you). But some of the finest weather in the state happens in the deserts come fall, when the nights are getting brisker but aren't yet fully lunar and the daytimes possess a golden warmness that everyone on the coast has to envy just a pinch. This is when the fall version of the Joshua Music Tree Festival flowers like a waxy bud atop a cactus, and, nope, it isn't just about the music (though that serves as its beating, beat-filled heart). As befitting its connect-to-the-earth-and-everything location, the festival features a bouquet of beautiful, look-inward doings, from a Positive Vibration Station to Pop-Up Tea Parties to Yoga & Healing sessions to Kidsville (yep, if you show with the tots you can set up in a Family Camp, which not every festival boasts). And as for the tunes..?

THE LIST IS LONG... and includes Black Joe Lewis of Austin and Colombia's Bomba Estereo and Ribab Fusion of Morocco and a full complement of acts and singers and instrumentalists that represent a world sound of the flowingest, tune-in sort. Beyond the stages? There's more vibe-feeling to enjoy, from Random Acts of Mindfulness to the recording of your own songs to astronomy pursuits to t-shirt making. And, indeed, you'll be within shouting distance of the Joshua Tree boulders, though, really, they are not to be shouted at. Rather admiring those epic rock formations, and thinking nature-y, creative-cool thoughts, is the order of the weekend. Oh, and that weekend? The autumn Joshua Tree Music Festival goes down from Oct. 9 through 12.

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