Festival fans head to JT for music and welcoming vibes

Hundreds of Joshua Tree Music Festival atendees gather in the Music Bowl for an eclectic connections of artis that range from funk, soul, spiritual and indie music.

JOSHUA TREE — The Joshua Tree Music Festival was back in full swing in Joshua Tree last weekend as hundreds of festival goers rocked out to an eclectic mix of up-and-coming artists.

JTMF was founded in 2003 and has since become one of the largest events in the Basin. Founder and organizer Barnett English came to the Joshua Tree Lake Campground in October 2002 to serve drinks at the JT Didgeridoo Festival.

“I drove in at night, then awoke to the magical sweeping views of the national park and the Copper Mountains. Upon meeting our gracious hosts, I told them it’d be a great site for a music festival. Sally said, ‘If it’s such a great idea, then you should go for it,’” English said recounting the origins of the festival.

The festival has grown every year, adding artisans and vendors who serve primarily vegan food and increasing the lineup to feature a variety of music types.

This year 30 music artists performed. The lineup featured some local favorites such as Myshkin Warbler and Gabriella Evaro and introduced many West Coast listeners to new bands, like crowd favorites Water Seed and the North Mississippi Allstars.

“I’ve never heard of Water Seed before but they were one of my favorite bands for the weekend,” said local festival goer Jennifer Gordon. “We come out to the festival every year and we love being introduced to new music from all over.”

Gordon and her friends said they have been regulars at the festival since the beginning and they love how the weekend encourages people to enjoy nature and the beauty of the desert.

Another festival goer, Kristen White, raved about Cactus Wine Experience, a local Western-inspired burlesque group.

“I saw them perform at Pappy and Harriett’s a couple of years ago and they were awesome,” she said. “I was super excited when I saw them on the lineup this year.”

Michael Ramirez loves the North Mississippi Allstars.

“They rock,” he said. “They put out a new album recently and I really loved getting to see them perform it live.”

The show closed down on Sunday with the finals performances by Electric Voodoo and DJ Adam Freeland. The festival will return to Joshua Tree in May 2020.

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