TWENTYNINE PALMS — Bhakti Fest, billed as a spiritual Woodstock, heldat the Roadrunner Dunes Golf Course Sept. 25 to 30, left some residents of the golf course unhappy with their temporary neihbors.
Festival organizers, on the other hand, said they are looking forward to bringing the event back to the city next year.
Some residents have made plans to attend the Tuesday, Oct. 8, city council meeting to air their grievences about the behavior of some of those who attended the festival which mixed yoga with sacred music and worskshops.
One sign left on in the middle of Saddlehorn Road, at Utah Trail at the entrance to the residential portion of the golf course property, seemed to sum up some residents’ feelings about the festival. It read, simple “No Bhatki.”
“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 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. “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.
“It was very disruptive to my dogs as well who were up all hours barking, protecting our yard.”
Other residents complained of public nudity, public indecency and instances of festivalgoers deficating in public and drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.
Bhakti Producer Steven Silberfein noted that the festival was invited to the area by the city of Twentynine Palms and 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,” he said.
He emphasized thart alcohol and drugs were not allowed at the festival.
“Clearly, we try to monitor the cannabis smoking, but cannot tell folks what to do when they are not on the actual festival grounds. especially when cannabis is legal in california,” he said. “If anyone is found to violate our rules, they are asked to stop or be removed.
“This year is the first year we had a swimming environment with two lakes. we have used them for ‘paddle board yoga.’ Signs were posted no nude swimming. There is always going to be a few individuals that will do whatever they want, no matter how many signs. We try to monitor that as best as we can.
He disputed the notion that any of the festivalgoers deficated on anyone’s property, noting that festival organizers provided 68 porta potties and two showers to accommodate the more than 350 people camping out on one of the golf course fairways.
“There was nobody that needed to deficate on anyone’s property,” he said.
He said festival organizers reached out to neighbors before the festival to tell them about the coming event.
“We dropped festival passes to all the owners of houses along the fairway and we saw many of them enjoying the show. sure, their was some that had issues and we “We did not intend to cause any harm to anyone due to our staff actions, or lack of same. We brought much needed income to the hotels, air bnb, restaurants, food stores and gas stations.
“We feel we provided a very fine event and hope to be back in 29 palms again next year.”