Friday November 2 from 5-11pm
By Tricia Witkower
What is the best street in all of Palm Desert? The one that’s an event and not an actual street at all. For the fourth year, STREET at the Westfield Mall in Palm Desert promises to be one of the most exciting events of the season and boasts talented live music, lover 40 large-scale murals, sculptures, and interactive art, pop-up shopping opportunities, crafts, gourmet food trucks, hand-crafted cocktails, and much more. This popular annual event takes places this Friday, November 2 from 5 to 11 pm and is the featured event for the City of Palm Desert’s First Weekend, a weekend of free events to locals and visitors. For those who have not yet been to STREET, head to Westfield Mall’s Deck, located on the third level parking garage near Macy’s. Admission is free and all ages are welcomed and encouraged to join.
What was the genesis of this unique event? We spoke with Franchesca Forrer, Marketing Director at Westfield. “STREET was born out of a need to have an event like this that didn’t seem to already exist here. We’d seen things like this in L.A. and even to some extent in Orange County. There was nothing that celebrated Coachella Valley artists, musicians, crafts, and food. We wanted to be known as a hub for street culture in the Coachella Valley. STREET is an experience for our community and visitors get to come and live like a local for the night. We partner with entire community for an evening that wouldn’t exist anywhere else and highlights CV in a unique way in a unique setting. There is literally something for everyone here.”
When she says there is something for everyone, that’s not hyperbole. STREET features six live bands and DJs, including local favorites, The Flusters, DJ Day, and C-Money and the Players. Also performing are the Yip-Yops, who are returning to the desert after a year of being away and becoming a popular L.A. band. Said Ison Van Winkle of the Yip-Yops, “Ever since our last Palm Desert show almost 2 years ago, it feels like we’ve constantly been moving; touring, writing/releasing new music, expanding our audience across the West Coast, etc. But we’re at a point now where we want to go back to our roots a bit and look for a local show that we can get behind as we move into the next phase of the band. So when Westfield reached out to us about this event it was an immediate yes. We felt it was a great place to reach our hometown fans and maybe even experiment a bit with our performance and possibly even unheard music. We’re not sure when we’re gonna be back again, so we want to make this performance special!”
Dougie VanSant, lead vocalist for the Flusters, said of the event, “We’re super excited to play STREET this year. We’ve attended every year and it’s been so amazing to watch it grow. Music, Art, Food, Culture and most importantly, FRIENDS! Every year we get to enjoy seeing our friends on stage and this year it’s no different: Yip Yops, Ocho Ojos, AMP. It’s super cool to be included with such an eclectic mix of local talent. We’re honored to be invited to play this year. We have some exciting announcements releasing soon. We can’t say much more right now but in terms of our performance, attendees can look forward to our signature ‘Dreamsurf’ sound and of course, a black-suited quartet of time-traveling retro rockers ready to party.”
The music is described as a combination of urban vibe and pop and is music everyone can chill and dance to. For kids – and adult-aged kids – there are interactive craft tables where you can make your own slime, create graffiti art, write a poem on a giant wall, and create a giant color-by-numbers, and see live paintings by two phenomenal muralists. All of these art stations will provide selfie-enthusiasts with what Forrer describes as, “the best selfies you’ve taken all year.” YMCA of the Desert is helping with crafts and has a “Bubble Bar” where people can make their own bubble paintings, as well as making sculptures using wood blocks and electrical wire. Crafty fashionistas can make their own graffiti bandana. Flat Black Art Supply, a local urban art shop and studio that is well-known in the valley for hosting art shows and events for artists, will be on-hand. Pete Salcido, the owner of Flat Black and curator of all street art has been working with the artists attending – both local and beyond, with one artist coming from as far away as Texas.
For those wondering, “What should I wear?” Plan for gorgeous weather and layer accordingly. Light jackets are suggested for nighttime temps, but there will be heaters at the event. Attendees are encouraged to dress down – wear jeans, graphic tees, Doc Martens. Most importantly, organizers suggest attendees bring a smile. Don’t have any STREET-appropriate clothes and want to go in theme? Have no fear – several pop-up shops including local maker Shag Bagg, Tie Dye Queen, and Buckle will be there. The retailers are not doing sales but instead focusing on unique experiences. Buckle is a store that carries many denim lines and offers people who stop by to make their own necklace (for free!) Tie Dye Queen has a make your own shirt station, and there will be a barber shop doing their own graffiti, painting a mural and then recreating their graffiti art on men’s heads! The fun of the event is doubled by these retailers taking the theme and running with it. Hot Topic will be on event for anyone wanting to shop the event and add to their “street” attire. STREET-goers will find they wouldn’t find these experiences anywhere else and have the chance to do things they wouldn’t normally do, particularly from an art perspective.
In addition to the do-it-yourself crafts, there are many fantastic features sure to delight all STREET-goers. A massive blacklight presentation will be on display, as well as live welding with upcycled pieces, and interactive sculpture piece attendees will have to see to believe, and like nothing you’d see anywhere on the West Coast. All sorts of art formats will be there, bringing creativity and individuality to each one. Another fun feature at STREET is the pop-up skate park, located adjacent to family craft area. This park consists of a series of boxes and quarter pipes set up for professional and amateur skaters alike to enjoy and show off their tricks and turns. Anyone interested in participating in skating can bring their own skateboard and needs to sign in to skate once they’ve checked in with the security team. For those interested, call ahead of time at (760) 346-2121 and ask for Franchesca Forrer to sign up.
With all the dancing, crafting, graffiti’ing, shopping, and creating, people are sure to get hungry and STREET has many delicious options to remedy that. Some of the gourmet food truck offerings include a grilled cheese truck, Ramona’s Express, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Jo Jo’s Grill a Dog, Royal Red Velvet Cupcakes, as well as a Maker’s Mark and Sauza Tequila bars. Stuft Pizza is providing pizza slices and bars where people can buy hand-crafted cocktails and other beverages, including one bar that is house inside a mobile bar truck, an art piece in and of itself.
With plenty of room and seating for everyone, bring all your friends to this fantastic event – even your furry friends. STREET is dog-friendly for all leashed pets. With so much to see and do, it will be impossible to get bored! For parking, all Westfield Mall parking is free and plentiful. There are two different elevators and two stairwells in the Macy’s parking structure that will take you up to the 3rd floor deck, which offers panoramic views of the desert mountain and glittering light of the city. Follow them on Instagram at @westfieldpd or find out more info on their website, www.westfield.com/palmdesert. See you this Friday!