TWENTYNINE PALMS — Bhakti Fest, billed as a spiritual Woodstock and held at the Roadrunner Dunes Golf Course Sept. 25-30, left some residents unhappy with their temporary neighbors.
Festival organizers, on the other hand, said they are looking forward to bringing the event back to the city next year.
One sign left in the middle of Saddlehorn Road at the entrance to the residential portion of the golf course property seemed to sum up some residents’ feelings about the festival. It read simply, “No Bhakti.”
“We have no problem with the festival itself and what it stands for, but it was very invasive to our livelihood,” resident Katie Fleischman said.
“I was kept up into the late hours of the night due to loud music and people. I had many people trespassing through my yard to get from the camping side to the festival side,” she said.
“Campers were traveling on our road and going very fast speeds through our residential area that was marked ‘no parking’ and ‘no through street.’ This is not a good location for this event,” Fleischman said.
Others complained of public nudity, public indecency and instances of people defecating in public.
Bhakti producer Steven Silberfein said the festival was invited to the area by the city and the owners of the golf course.
“The city wanted us to bring the spirit that we do to Twentynine Palms, as we have to Joshua Tree, where we have brought over 50,000 folks to the area due to our festivals for the last 11 years,” Silberfein said.
He disputed that anyone attending the festival defecated on anyone’s property, noting that festival organizers provided 68 portable bathrooms and two showers to accommodate the more than 350 people camping on one of the fairways.
“There was nobody that needed to defecate on anyone’s property,” he said.
He said festival organizers reached out to neighbors before the festival and dropped off festival passes to all the owners of houses along the fairway.
“We feel we provided a very fine event and hope to be back in Twentynine Palms again next year,” he said.