Two years ago this week, I went to the best music festival ever–Desert Trip. I tried writing about it when I got home, but it was all too fresh and overwhelming. Two years later, it still seems surreal. But it’s now easier to condense it down to the high points.
This was my first time to see Bob Dylan in person. I was on cloud nine, hearing Bob sing Like A Rolling Stone and Tangled Up in Blue. Earlier in the week, he’d been awarded a Nobel Prize. On this night the Nobel Prize poet treated us to new/alternate lyrics to Tangled Up in Blue.
The next night, Mother Nature provided a stunning real time harvest moon as a backdrop to Neil Young’s performance of Harvest Moon.
This was my first time to see Neil perform live, and I couldn’t have been happier with his set list and performance. He’s a rebel!
My fave song of Neil’s set was Long May You Run.
Sir Paul had my other fave song of the festival, when he called surprise guest Rihanna out onto the stage to do Four Five Seconds.
Each night had amazing fireworks at the end.
On the third night, guitar windmills whirled,
and pigs flew.
I had a general admission ticket, and decided not to fight for a spot at the front of GA, which was a dense crowd pushed up against a fence still far from the stage. So I took a spot near the back, where everybody was relaxed and had room to breathe. I could set my beach chair in place, and then go get a drink or food and easily get back to my spot.
When I say I was far back from the stage, I mean, the performers were like ants on the stage. I didn’t care. The sound was great, and so was the vibe around me, and there were excellent video screens. It felt relaxed, like a concert in someone’s back yard.
(The band on stage is actually those teeny tiny people in the lower center.)
I opted for tent camping, of course. This was my little outdoor paradise. I had cool neighbors all around. Some brought their own guitars for campsite jam sessions. It was pure contentment when at the end of a long, amazing day, I would lay down and drift off to sleep hearing people congregated at nearby tents, singing and playing guitar.
The tent village was well organized. On my arrival, I was assigned an ‘address’, and driven to it with my stuff by a nice guy in a golf cart.
I took my Esbit alcohol stove, and prepared a few simple meals at my campsite. One was Curry Cashew Chicken Rice & Veggies in broth. I adapted this recipe from the amazing backpackingchef.com. For the veggies, I used carrots, broccoli and cauliflower; all dehydrated at home in advance of the trip.
I also took my Bemco backpacker oven, and made myself a couple of scrumptious campsite pizzas. I’ll save the campsite pizza details for a later post.
For coffee, I took my travel french press mug–a nice gift from my brother. By loading it with ground coffee and water each night, I had a nice cold brew ready each morning.
More sights from my little home and the totally awesome tent village:
For the campers, there was a pop-up downtown with general store, cool vintage boutiques, food vendors, hair salon, game room, entertainment, outdoor games and more. I could have spent a lot of time here. The downside was the typical US festival price gouging, but only at the general store. $12 for a dozen eggs? Nah, I’ll walk a few more steps and get a scrumptious pancakes and sausage breakfast for $5 instead.
There was a cool upcycle boutique. I borrowed this shirt idea for my brother’s birthday gift when I got home, using a t-shirt from his favorite local band.
One vintage boutique had a type-in ‘Guest book’
There were dozens more pop up restaurants, pubs, shops and activities in the main festival area. One was a vintage vinyl record shop, where the line just to get in the door was never short.
One vendor served ice cream floats in these awesome metal cups. The cup is now a permanent part of my camping kit.
The taxi bikers were creatively shielded from the dust. There’s an awesome review I’ve linked to at the end, that tells all you need to know about the dust boogers.
Along with dust boogers, there was the near-permanent dust tan.
Another totally awesome high point of the festival for me, was meeting up with a cross-country friend.
Sure, it was hot, but I managed to keep my clothes on, unlike some people. What the _?_
During the 3-day festival, people were speculating on who would perform at the next Desert Trip. A Led Zeppelin reunion was universally mentioned. Some thought Springsteen and a few others from that next generation of big stars. Others I thought of were Eric and Ginger as Cream, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Paul Simon, and Ringo Starr. Anyway, the answer to date, is that Desert Trip was a one-off. I’m good with that. While I’d love to go again, I can’t think of another lineup that I’d be as excited about as the original.
The best music festival ever deserves the best review ever, and here it is! Seriously, I read it while on my trip home from the festival, and had to hold my hand over my mouth to stifle my laughter so as not to annoy the people sitting around me. http://www.apparentlythismatters.com/2016/10/desert-trip-review.html
To that I can only add that I went; I experienced; I got the t-shirt(s).
And that’s enough reminiscing for now. Next week…a sewing project.
6 thoughts on “Desert Trip; has it been two years already?”
I remember reading about this festival and drooling. Everyone there that I would care to see. You are right…you could NOT be that lineup. That was a concert of a lifetime.
When I first heard about it, I assumed it was a wild rumor that would never, ever happen. Then it was real. Then came a very stressful couple of hours trying to buy a ticket while at the office with my door shut, and messaging with cross-country friends who were also trying to buy. Today it is all a surreal memory. Not only was the lineup one of a kind, but the festival was exceptionally well organized, and the crowd top notch. The best vibe ever. I have a feeling those things will never all come together again to make a repeat experience of that caliber. They can do the best planning for a repeat, and yet vibe could turn out as different as Woodstock and Altamont did.
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From the pictures it looked really clean and organized.
I remember showing the artist list to some friends. I thought it was a joke at first. No way do all of these artists come together in one place.
I saw Dylan that summer but he didn’t do anything old but Tangled Up In Blue.
It was exceptionally clean and organized; (as clean as could be with the air full of desert dust). Not your average music festival at all.
I would have been envious of you seeing Dylan. I’d assumed I had no chance of ever seeing him.
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What you went to was once in a lifetime. I doubt if something with that big of guests happen again.
I’ve seen him 8 times. My son went with me in 2016 when Bob was doing Sinatra covers…but it was good with Mavis Staple opening up. My son was a fan before that but he wants to see him again.
He comes to Nashville a lot.
You are lucky! Nashville is a destination for every artist, it seems. Kansas, not so much.