By Craig Michaels
Back in the 50’s – and still today, the Coachella Valley has been known as the “Playground of the Stars” for those celebrities who want a break from Tinseltown. During the past decade the spotlight has been reignited on Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities which have become a mecca for music, art and film festivals. Unlike many of the other festivals in the Valley which take place during the season, the AMFM Fest is scheduled for June 13 through the 16 and will be centered at the Mary Pickford Theaters in Cathedral City.
Film 4 Change is the organization that is responsible for bringing the festival into the desert. Founder and director of Film 4 Change, Rich Henrich’s philosophy is that films can change people’s lives. The organization consists of a community of storytellers, “We bring storytellers and filmmakers together to support, encourage and share the stories that connect us to the world around us and to each other,” explains Henrich.
An entrepreneur, writer, producer, actor, teacher and mentor, Henrich graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Film. Besides working on several movie campaigns (including The Blair Witch Project and Happy Texas,) Rich has also worked on other film festivals including the Cancun International Film festival which is still active today. AMFM is a fest that is tailored to independent and progressive artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and culture-makers who aren’t afraid to think differently.
Each night movies will be shown at the Mary Pickford Theater with live bands playing on the Town Square stage beginning at sunset. The line-up of bands can be seen on the AMFM web site. Fest goers will not only be treated to an eclectic line up of musicians but will recognize some familiar groups such as local acts Gram Rabbit from the high desert and Blasting Echo.
If you missed Tachevah or the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, this is your chance to see top DJs spinning at many of the receptions associated with the AMFM Fest. The DJs will also be wrapping up the live bands that will be playing on the Town Square stage each night. DJ Day, (Damien Beebe) who is scheduled as one of the headliners, is a DJ, producer and musician hailing from Palm Springs, CA. With an illustrious career spanning two decades, he was recently named “Palm Spring’s Finest” and for good reason: His well-executed DJ sets make him a must see for any DJ enthusiast. Day recently completed a 10 date tour of Europe to support the release of his new album; “Land of 1000 Chances.” If you can’t make it out to the Fest you can catch Day hosting his weekly party at the renowned Ace Hotel in Palm Springs ever Thursday.
Other DJs playing at the four day festival include DJ Joplin who is known for her unusual and intriguing musical upbringing– spanning Bluegrass to Rock, Classical to Jazz and Punk to modern day Electronica. For the last 10 years, she has been mainly recognized for her deep and funky House grooves, but her more recent repertoire extends far beyond to include Afro-Latin-jazz and Blues influenced Downtempo, Broken Beat and Funk. Creator of LA based music and visual collective Pork & Beats, Joplin finds herself building musical “environments” anywhere from yoga studios to downtown warehouses, art galleries and Hollywood clubs. As of May 2009, you can hear Joplin every Sunday in her newly created Deep Soul Lounge, residing within Marques Wyatt’s infamous Deep-LA, now running 10 years strong.
Completing the DJ line up is DJ Deklun from Portland, OR, who is also featured on the movie soundtrack of “Down and Dangerous” which will be showing at the festival. DJ Pedro La Bats and his brother Ricardo who go be “Pharmacy” are home grown DJs from Palm Springs who round out the list.
The first ever AMFM Fest is also looking for volunteers whose qualifications require good people skills. You can purchase an all access VIP pass for all 4 days of the festival or see a movie for little as $5 to $10. For more information or to buy tickets you can visit the fest web site: www.amfmfest.com.
Written By: Craig Michaels
Musical Affair Entertainment