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#FBF: One Last Look at Desert Daze 2018

“In the hours approaching a music festival, we often find ourselves struggling to maintain positivity and momentum after waiting on our friends, who are reliably two hours late for the carpool, after the buzz of escaping the city begins to flatline after too many hours in traffic, all to be lost in a land of confusion after said friends disappear after everyone’s cell reception/battery/phone is lost, one by one.

Why do we do this every year? What are we here for?

For some, the experience as a whole is reason enough to go through the trouble of “getting there.” What it boils down to is a specific kind of release only found while collectively experiencing art and music. To do this, we set aside the day-to-day in hopes of finding a pure and spontaneous feeling that can only be experienced in this manner. Sure, the expectation at a festival is to party. But for those who are receptive and a perhaps lucky, we may find ourselves in each other. If only for a moment.

This year’s Desert Daze fest could easily be defined by the torrential storm which brought an early end to the opening night just three songs into Tame Impala’s headlining set. But as I looked to the crowd behind me, I saw thousands of people swaying to music in the darkness, faces lit only by the lights of the stage, rain falling onto their faces. Lightning touched the hills along the skyline until loudly striking the otherwise still and silver water of Lake Perris. A burst of awes came from the crowd as the water was lit, a sight to be seen. Within minutes, the downpour became torrential and thousands of people separated into clusters as they searched for shelter. After accepting that the rain was not stopping anytime soon, some danced until they became too cold and braved the rain in route to their camps…

Memories are not defined by the events, but rather how they made us feel. The music on the air as lightning hit the lake, sprinting for shelter in the pouring rain, the mezcal-fueled laughter and looks shared between old and new friends, ex-lovers and strangers, the disorientation of becoming lost in an unfamiliar place among thousands of others who may or may not have also been lost.

We do this thing as individuals but in actuality we are not alone. If we realize this truth and let go of the trivialities of long lines, dead cell phones, or not finding our camp in the dark but having to walk by moonlight, we become present. The music, the disorientation and subsequent release of control somehow always leave me with a smile, thinking, “Ah, this must be the place.”

Stay tuned to Milk for more music festivals.

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