October 11-13 at Moreno Beach, Lake Perris

By Jason Hall

Desert Daze, the premier Southern California psych fest, is making its triumphant return this coming weekend. Just when you think, “there’s no way next year can be better,” Desert Daze finds a way to prove you wrong. This year’s lineup has surpassed the expectations of everybody involved, be it fan or organizer. Through various location changes, and many years, Desert Daze has grown into arguably one of the best festivals in Southern California (which is obviously home to some of the most popular festivals in the world).

Photo By Dave Evanko

Desert Daze started in 2012 as a way to keep Coachella Fest attendees busy between the two weekends. In 2013, it was too big for Dillon’s Roadhouse and moved to Sunset Ranch in Mecca. After three years, Desert Daze moved to Joshua Tree in 2016. After a hugely successful 2016 and 2017 festival, Desert Daze once again outgrew their venue and moved to their third location for the 2018 event.

For the second year, Moreno Beach in Lake Perris will be home to Desert Daze. This location has made it possible for more camping room and a very scenic lake backdrop. The lake isn’t just a backdrop though. Festival goers are encouraged to take a dip or float while listening to their favorite bands play live just feet from the shoreline. If the lake isn’t an enticing enough backdrop, the beautiful San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains ought to be more than enough.

This year’s three-day lineup features some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities with some of the biggest bands around. The Flaming Lips will be performing their masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin. Wu-Tang Clan will be performing their breakthrough debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Ween will be performing their magnum opus, Chocolate & Cheese. The mighty DEVO will possibly be performing their last show ever. Desert Daze will also brandish many other acts like The Claypool Lennon Delirium (featuring Les Claypool of Primus and Sean Lennon of Cabo Matteo), Flying Lotus 3D, Stereolab, Animal Collective, Fred Armisen, Parquet Courts, JJUUJJUU, and The Black Angels just to name a few.

Photo By By Travis Trautt
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Friday will feature standouts DIIV, Fred Armisen, Stereolab, Witch, Animal Collective, W.I.T.C.H., and The Flaming Lips. DIIV will play The Moon Stage at 3:00 pm. Fred Armisen, of SNL fame, will play The Theatre at 3:15 pm. Stereolab will play The Moon stage at 6:35 pm. Witch will play the Block stage at 8:05 pm immediately followed by (but not to be confused with) W.I.T.C.H. At 10:15 pm. Animal collective will play The Moon stage at 9:00 pm immediately followed by The Flaming Lips.

Saturday sees a double headliner with Ween and DEVO. Saturday has many standouts including possible 3rd headliner(?) Flying Lotus 3D, Parquet Courts, JJUUJJUU, Pussy Riot, Surfbort, and Big Business. Gucci endorsed band Surfbort, play The Theatre at 3:30 pm followed by the loudest, fullest duo in the “business,” Big Business at 4:45 pm. JJUUJJUU, Phil Pirrone’s psych gem, will play The Block stage at 5:30 pm. The Moon stage will be occupied all day with amazing acts. Parquet Courts starts at 4:30 pm. Devo follows with a 6:15 pm set. After that is Ween performing Chocolate & Cheese at 8:35 pm. Finishing out the night on The Moon stage is Flying Lotus 3D at 11:25 pm.

Photo by Debi Del Grande

On the final night of the festival, Sunday, the musical assault does not slow down even though the festival will be wrapping at the end of the night. Wu-Tang Clan headlines the onslaught of Sunday’s festivities. Alvvays, The Black Angels, Khruangbin, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, and Dead Meadow help with this aural assault. Alvvays plays The Moon stage at 4:30 pm followed by The Black Angels at 6:30 pm then Khruangbin at 9:00 pm. The Claypool Lennon Delirium hit The Block stage at 10:15 pm followed by Dead Meadow closing out the festival at 12:55 am. Wu-Tang Clan will prove they “ain’t nothin’ to fuck with” on The Moon stage at 11:35 pm.

Throughout the festival, many other bands will be performing on The Sanctuary stage, The Theatre, The Block stage, and The Moon stage. Local artist Christopher Cichocki returns with his Circular Dimensions installation every night at The Sanctuary from 10:45 pm until close. If you are camping you will also get access to The Mystic Bazaar which will feature musical performances, Yoga, Soundbaths, Workshops, and general meditation. Camping at the venue is a must for those who can afford it. The camping community and opportunity to not have to commute makes it worth every penny.

Single day, full weekend, and camping passes are available at desertdaze.org.