By Crystal Harrell
Since 2003, the Joshua Tree Music Festival has been a bi-annual event showcasing the mesmerizing High Desert views with an eclectic mix of sound. Unfortunately and predictably, both music festival dates planned for May and October of 2020 have been cancelled. Though dancing shoulder to shoulder and hugging everyone on the dance floor is not a possibility, a virtual event in May was produced and there is another one in the works for October.
“Festivals are all about the joyous shared experiences. So festivals and live music experiences were the first to shut down, and they’ll be the last to come back. Artists, musicians, sound production, event professionals, artisan vendors and more are having to reinvent themselves to stay afloat,” explained Joshua Tree Music Festival Founder/Producer Barnett English.
This reinvention comes in the form of a fleet of Cozy Camper Trailers, familiar to those who have attended the Festival in the past. These trailers have been transformed into ‘CasaGogo’ at the Joshua Tree Music Festival site. Reservations are currently being accepted from October 1 onwards at casagogo.com in the Joshua Tree Lake Campground open year round for camping.
“The pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt with the effects being felt heavily across the live music/event industry. It’s been tough for our small crew for sure, but also an opportunity to come up with creative ways to connect with our community in the virtual space and to work on our side businesses, CasaGogo and Harmonize Printing,” revealed Director of Marketing & Communications Cassie Morrow.
CasaGogo is arranged in camping ‘Pods’ which are self-contained and designed to accommodate immediate household groups up to 10 people. Guests are asked to observe social distancing and wear masks when moving around outside of their provided area. There are stringent cleaning procedures in place to make sure every surface is disinfected between guests and plenty of sanitizer and hand soap are used. It is also asked that guests monitor their health in the lead up to their trip and to contact the camping grounds about rescheduling or cancelling with no penalty if they are showing any symptoms at all.
“2020 has been filled with uncertainty but if there’s one thing we are certain of it is that getting outdoors and spending time with your loved ones stargazing, outside in wide open spaces, soaking in the desert energy is medicine for the soul. Us lucky folks that live in the desert get to benefit from this on a daily basis but there are many who do not, so we hope to provide this opportunity for people to get some ‘soul medicine’ in a safe and responsible way,” said Morrow.
Some advice that Morrow would give to those struggling emotionally during this time with the cancellation of events would be to remember that ‘community is crucial—a phrase that she says a lot and that rings true more than ever during these difficult times. She urges others to check on their neighbors, check in with loved ones, and check in with yourself, asking for support if they need it. Morrow believes that there is no shame in struggling right now, as we are all riding the roller coaster that is 2020.
“It seems it may be a little while before we can throw an event of the size we’re used to, but we’re ready to start having in-person gatherings as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. We hope to be able to do this sooner rather than later as we know everyone is missing that human connection just as much as we are,” stated Morrow.
Another new venture created in the midst of the pandemic is a t-shirt printing business called Harmonize Printing, where people can purchase Joshua Tree Music Festival merchandise as well as designs by musicians, local artists and local businesses who all need community support right now. Style options are available for viewing at harmonizeprinting.com.
“It’s been heartbreaking to have to cancel not one, but two festivals this year. Yes, it’s our passion and livelihood, but more than that it’s gathering with the beautiful community of people we’ve built over the years. Dancing, laughing, celebrating and joyously connecting with our people is what I’m really missing. I know that when we’re able to get together again, though, it’s going to be amazing!” said Morrow.