We’ve been to a lot of festivals. Each year though, Desert Daze seems to top themselves. Last year, the lineup seemed completely unbeatable. Then we got Iggy Pop headlining Desert Daze 2017. This year was a game changer.

Iggy Pop by James Sakert

Desert Daze 2016 marked a big change for the yearly festival. For the first time in 5 years, the event was to be held at the Institute of Mentalphysics, the oldest and largest spiritual retreat in the United States. Designed by Frank Lloud Wright and son, the uniquely beautiful building and grounds were the perfect place to hold the ever expanding, punk, psych, indie, etc gathering known as Desert Daze.

Last year’s event went off without a hitch, and earned major praise from fans, journalists, bands and industry experts alike, but the festival was taxing for local inhabitants who complained of noise and disruption. There were concerns the festival couldn’t be held at the Institute in 2017, but Desert Daze secured the legendary location and grounds again, laying the stage for another amazing year.

So you’ve got one of the coolest and most unique venues in the game on lock, next, you’ve got to top last year’s legendary lineup. Did you see 2017? Somehow, Desert Daze did it again.

Whoever is curating this festival deserves an award. 2017’s lineup took the best of 2016, like constant garage rock contributors Ty Segall and John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, contemporary favorites like UMO and King Gizzard, lo fi and indie icons like Ariel Pink, and legendary headliners like Iggy Pop. The lineup this year was fresh and current, but kept all the original greatness that made last year such a hit.

Ariel Pink by James Sakert

So, in addition to an amazing lineup, you’ve got a great assortment of artists and talent running the event, and Desert Daze knocked it out of the park with the best photographers and designers from the scene. You’ve got David Evanko of Minivan Photography getting iconic shots of Iggy, you’ve got Oliver Hibert (of Flaming Lips fame) designing beautiful posters of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Mad Alchemy delivering the trippiest liquid light shows, and you’ve got this amazing community of local artists and talent all collaborating together in one spot in the desert and it’s just magical.

Artist Oliver Hibert by James Sakert

Desert Daze delivers the most consistently solid lineup year after year, showcases incredibly well curated and uniquely themed bands, art, instillations and vendors, and offers an experience that is impossible to replicate anywhere else. Stunning geography and palpable energy blend together with amazing sights and sounds and culminate in our favorite festival of the year. We hope everyone involved continues their booking excellence well into the next decade.

Location photos by Joshua Beavers, all others by James Sakert