Since 2006, the Desert Stars Festival has functioned as an autonomous weekend filled with music, camping and camaraderie Originally named Clean Air Clear Stars, the annual gathering of bands hailing mostly from LA’s Indie scene has grown each year to the point where the festival’s venue, Pappy & Harriets can now count on being at or near capacity every year on the late September weekend.
Now in its ninth year Desert Stars is bigger than ever returning with bands like Lou Barlow, Black Angels, Dead Meadow, The Lemonheads and more.
Tommy Dietrick, one of the original architects of Desert Stars Festival says the event’s size is a key component to its magic.
“I’m a big fan of festivals that don’t exceed 10,000 people cause you retain that sense of community,” Dietrick told atombash.com in an exclusive conversation. “People aren’t as fractious as some of the big events. I don’t mind some growth but I want it to stay grassroots. We’re quite happy being a smaller festival and one thing people tell me is ‘I met my wife or girlfriend at your festival’ or ‘I met some friends five years ago that are my best friends now.’ You can feel an energy between the bands and the people who go,” he added.
Dietrick says one of their goals for Desert Stars is to eventually have their own piece of land specifically for the festival in case something happens, in the meantime Pappy & Harriet’s is the ideal venue.
“It’s fun it’s intimate. We have 35 bands on three stages. We have two stages outside in the yard,” noted Dietrick. “We’ve got something for just about everybody. We’ve always been based in psychedelic music, indie, we have a bit of electronic and with Lou Barlow we’ve got the folk element,” he added.
The Black Angels are one of the staples at Desert Stars and in fact they loved the festival so much that when their own popularity skyrocketed they decided to create their own incarnation that has since become a well known event.
“The Black Angels are big fans of our festival and they came up to me and the guy that was involved with me back then and they were like, ‘We love this. We want to start our own festival, called Austin Psych Fest.” said Dietrick. “I was like that sounds rad and ten years later Psyche Fest blew up all over the world and they’ll tell you the reference point was things like Desert Stars Festival.”
Proceeds from the ninth annual Desert Stars Festival, which will take place September 25-26 at Pappy & Harriet’s will go to charity. For more information on tickets or to view the full lineup go to www.desertstarsfestival.com.