By Crystal Harrell
Spring is in the air, and while the new season blossoms and Riverside County progresses towards transitioning to the orange tier, easing some COVID restrictions, there is a reason to celebrate safely. The Spring on the Love Open-Air Charity Festival will take place on April 3 from 2 p.m. through 10 p.m. at the Coachella Valley Horse Rescue (CVHR) in Indio.
The charity festival will raise funds for the CVHR, as their primary purpose is to rescue horses from abuse, abandonment, and slaughter. 80 horses have been rehabilitated and have found their forever homes so far. CVHR connects people with rescued horses to help educate and improve the quality of life for children and adults interacting with horses. Programs offer equine-assisted growth and awareness within the community including Scouts of America, veterans, and seniors, as well as contributing to community service hours for student credit.
The event will feature live music, providing local musicians a chance to finally play in a safe outdoor environment amid the pandemic. The bands will be performing in a drive-in concert throughout the day. The lineup includes The Ghost Notes, who pay homage to the Grateful Dead and other bands of that era; The Red Hot Cholo Peppers who bring their unique and exceptional tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Coachella Valley’s Academy of Music Performance graduates: Singer/songwriter/recording artist, Brayden Davlantes, and the award-winning youth rock band, Pescaterritory. CV Music Award winning band, Lisa Lynn and the Broken Hallelujahs, will also be bringing their brand of “Y’all-ternative” country rock and soul, along with some surprise guests.
“It’s been challenging organizing everything, but worth it now that we can see it coming together. We had this event ready to go in October. We called it ‘Harvest the Love’ but COVID numbers began to rise, and we decided to cancel it. We just did not want to risk putting people in harm’s way. Days after we cancelled, that second wave hit, so it was a good call. This time, everything is trending in favor of the event, and it’s a huge relief.
The toughest challenge is having so little time to pull it together. We had to wait to pull the trigger, and once we did, it was all hands-on deck to try and beat the progressive heat of April. It’s been a long hard year. There were many losses. We are ready to safely connect and celebrate the work of the rescue and hopefully raise a little money while we’re at it,” said Marketing Director of CVHR, Lisa Lynn Morgan.
Morgan is co-producing this event on behalf of the rescue with other volunteers, and she is also the front woman of the desert folk-rock band Lisa Lynn and the Broken Hallelujahs. Morgan’s life came to an immediate halt when the pandemic hit. All the Lisa Lynn and the Broken Hallelujahs shows were cancelled, and she was laid off from her job as Marketing and Entertainment Director at Big Rock Golf & Pub.
Morgan had worked with the CVHR over the years as entertainment for their fundraisers and decided to invest herself further with all the newfound time she had. Lisa Lynn and her band have had a steady stream of private bookings, with some booked into next year, and currently hold a Wednesday night residency at Casuelas Café in Palm Desert. Morgan is grateful to perform for live audiences again, as the pandemic has not afforded her many opportunities to do so.
“It was hard and pretty depressing to be cut off from an active performance schedule. I realized how much the connection with a listening audience fed my soul. It’s not so much about singing or playing an instrument and having people clap. It’s about sharing a story and connecting with them, seeing the joy on their faces, or the tears. Watching them dance, knowing that this simple thing you’re doing is inspiring them, or taking them to a happier, sentimental place. That connection is pretty intense at times. It’s very special. Life just isn’t the same without it,” explained Morgan.
Some non-profit organizations joining the Spring on the Love Open-Air Charity Festival include the Desert Recreation District, Pegasus Riding Academy, Academy of Music Performance, Boy Scouts of America, Street Life Project, and many others. Activities will include horse demonstrations, horse paintings, live music including a drive-in concert, an “Instrument Zoo” sponsored by the Academy of Music Performance, and an all-safe Easter Egg-stravaganza egg hunt with sanitized egg painting stations. Guests will also get the chance to be introduced to rescue horses, big and small.
There will be many other activities for kids and families, as the CVHR maintains COVID safety measures to control traffic, spacing, and surface sanitation. Guests and staff will be required to wear masks. Hand washing and hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout. Spring hats are also encouraged to be worn and will be awarded.
A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available online at CVHorseRescue.org as well as on the rescue’s social media pages. Space will be limited for safety purposes. Tickets are $25 per person (children under 5 are free). A family pack of 4 will be available for $60. Drive-in concert parking is an additional $10.