May 12, 2015
The envelope-stretching Joshua Tree Music Festival launches Thursday, marking the start of the last of my top 10 desert area music festivals. But it’s facing competition from an up-and-coming music festival and a long-time favorite that raises funds for a worthwhile cause.
My top 10 desert area music festivals, not counting parties, series and festivals that offer but don’t emphasize music are:
1) The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which will soon be announcing tickets for its 2016 event.
2) Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival, which recently wrapped up its most successful year under the new programming leadership of longtime Paul Tollett assistant, Stacy Vee.
3) The Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines, which recently announced an exciting lineup for Aug. 15-16. Go here for ticket information.
4) The Joshua Tree Spring Music Festival, beginning its 13th year at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground.
5) The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival, which is moving from the spring to Oct. 9-11 with a bill headlined consecutively by Diane Schuur and Nona Hendryx in the Annenberg Theater and concluding with a tribute to jazz divas Etta James and Anita O’Day in a Sunday brunch at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom. Go to the promoters’ website for ticket information.
6) The Rhythm, Wine and Brews Experience, which last February expanded into an eclectic R&B and world music-derived program at the Empire Polo Club in Indio
7) The Joshua Tree Fall Music Festival, a roots-oriented event Oct. 8-11 that is moving more in line with the world music emphasis of its sister festival this weekend.
8) The Cracker-Camper Van Beethoven Campout, which just announced Jesika von Rabbit will be among its first performers at its 11th annual event Aug. 27-29 at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown. Go here for tickets
9) The Desert Stars Festival, which recently announced that its eighth annual event Sept. 25-26 at Pappy & Harriet’s will be headlined by Swervedriver and the Lemonheads. Go here for tickets
10) The Desert Lexus Jazz Festival, which earlier this month evolved from a smooth jazz festival to a chill music event in the pavilion of the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens.