Moon Block Party has been throwing events for the last four years or so, but this was the first year of Desert Daze, a one-day festival in Mecca, CA. Desert Daze featured twenty-three bands mostly psychedelic, and neo-psychedelic with the exception of the headliner Tinariwen who would probably be considered world music because they are from Mali, Africa, but they are far from typical African music. Tinariwen’s performance was the highlight of the weekend for me, but the entire experience was awesome. The location, Sunset Ranch Oasis, is an ideal spot. We used less then forty acres for camping and the three stages (Moon, Block, and Lounge Stage) while the ranch consists of 163 acres, providing plenty of room for this fest to grow. There are two lakes, or “oases,” in the middle of the festival surrounded by palm trees creating a very picturesque landscape. The night I arrived a group of us hung out on a wooden deck that waded out into the oasis. Friday night I drove out to Mecca and didn’t arrive until after ten. I met the folks from Moon Block Party including Phil Pirrone, a member of the band JJUUJJUU and the mastermind behind Desert Daze. His walkie talkie tag was Big Mama. I stayed up late walking the festival site, taking it all in, and getting excited for the next day. I even helped Phil carry some JJUUJJUU guitars back to the house when he had to open the gate for some late-comers at around 2:30 AM. A car load of girls showed up that had driven eighteen hours from Colorado Springs to catch the fest and their favorite band Fool’s Gold. Phil got them settled in and I retired to my tent. Saturday, the day of the fest, was a scorcher. I walked the grounds handing out ice cream while my truck was parked in the artist and crew area. I didn’t serve much from the truck because it was off to the side of most of the action, so I used a cooler bag to carry treats and handed out stickers out of my back pocket. I would get a box each of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Cookie Dough, walk around the fest making des(s)ert dreams come true, and then return for a refill. Cookie Dough was probably the most popular of the day, but the others ran a close second. I made too many trips to count. In all, giving away almost a thousand shorty cups. Fortunately, the folks at Moon Block hooked me up with free waters, so I stayed plenty hydrated. I talked with people from the area, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs (DHS to the locals), many people from LA especially Silverlake area, and all over Southern California, Chino Hills, Corona, and San Diego just to name a few places. In all, there were around 2,000 people that attended the festival. I didn’t pay much attention to the bands until it got dark because I was just too damn busy. In fact, I missed some bands that I really wanted to see. I met some of the artists and they were all super nice folks, so I was bummed I didn’t catch their sets. I talked with the Lumerians and their drummer Chris even shared one of his NorCal craft beers with me. Since they are from Oakland, we talked about the beer up there and about their upcoming tour where they’ll play in Austin, New York, and then off to Belgium and Western Europe. Around eight, my photographer Stephen Loh arrived so I felt a little less pressure to hand out an entire truckload of ice cream singlehandedly. I was able to catch a bit of Chelsea Wolfe’s set, some of Fool’s Gold, most of Warpaint, and all of Tinariwen, who went on at 1:55. Chelsea Wolfe’s music is haunting and beautiful. Fool’s Gold is great to dance to and the crowd was certainly lively and bouncing about. Warpaint, dark, atmospheric, and exquisitely hypnotic, was well received as the LA female foursome even signed items for their fans after the show. Last, Tinariwen were great. They came out in full African desert gear with head wraps and their faces covered. Obvioulsy, I couldn’t understand any of their lyrics, but their vibe sticks with you and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Much thanks to Moon Block Party for having us and Ben & Jerry’s for hooking us up with plenty of free ice cream on this blazing 4/20. Here’s hoping that we’ll do it again next year and it’s even better.