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Arts, Events+Music: The Desert Explodes this Year, Appealing to a New Generation

Palm Springs has been declared "haute" in the hip scene again. Could have seen that coming. Thanks primarily to music festivals and well, um lots of disposable income. But it's not only Palm Springs. There are other special events and festivals springing up all year long, in the entire desert. It is said that “The Desert in Demand: Palm Springs is in Demand With Help from Coachella.” Read more in a New York Times article by Peter Haldeman. This week coming, over 300,000 will descend upon Las Vegas, for Electronic Daisy. Or "EDC Week" as they now call it, at the 1,200 acre speedway grounds in the desert as well as, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel for an industry conference and multiple pool parties on the strip. Although it is not as "mature" as Coachella, in terms of it's audience, it is wildly popular and brands would be smart to be there.

Sofia Richie (R) with friend at the Marc Jacobs party at the ACE Hotel Coachella 2014
Nichole Wright

This year, Old Navy, H&M, Teva, Adidas Originals and again, Guess and LaCoste held parties, including media outlets, Harpers Bazaar, Nylon, Filter, Flaunt and Details at Coachella. Not to mention Sephora on festival grounds, with 9 “touch-up” stations. Apparently, celebs were paid to attend parties this year and they (we) complain about corporate CEO pay in America?!? Nevertheless, we all love to go to the parties, so lets take a look back at some of the more unique events.

For those who were lucky enough to arrive Thursday night, Details Magazine hosted “Details at Midnight” in Indian Wells, with DJ sets by the Knocks, Brendan Fallis and Hannah Bronfman. One of the most prolific parties was the co-hosted McDonald’s and Corvette party, held at the Bootsy Bellows estate. Not a perfect match of a venue but the backside of the property worked brilliant. It served well for the upmarket cabanas poolside, grassy dance floor (yes, people dance at parties, just not in LA) bungee jumping and live car racing. Bolthouse was old news for kids, not to mention the industry crowd, who stuck around the real music weekend for the Windish Agency’s very private invite to their SoHo House event with Bacardi Rum. The catering was de rigueur and Cult Gaia flower crowns and Honest products, with beach towels were a new addition. A bright move, hosting this on the 2nd weekend.

What it is it about festivals in the desert and what it is about the draw of the desert? Coachella drew some 200,000 Gen Xers and Yers, including Mr. DiCaprio to the area this year, who just threw down $5.2MM for a house in Old Las Palmas. “Anne Hathaway is rumored to be house hunting there, and Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes were recently seen furniture shopping in the Uptown Design District.” said the Hollywood Reporter.

The following weekend is Stagecoach, followed by the Palm Springs International Photography Festival, White Party, Dinah Shore and the list goes on. $3.4 million was collected in transient occupancy taxes in April, a 26.7 percent increase compared to a year ago, and the most transient occupancy tax collected in a single month in the city’s history." - The Desert Sun, June 16, 2014. Last weekend, LED (Johnny Shockey & partners) hosted the second installment of Splash House, a growing Palm Springs festival that sprawls over the Saguaro Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Hacienda Beach Club pool scenes. On the regular set at BAR, a new lounge, there is "Open Vinyl Night" and "Art & Design Happy Hour" weekly.

Now all we need is a Fashion Week. One thing is for sure, the event heavy week in between the two weekends of Coachella is better than any other west coast Fashion Week, coined “Midchella.” Jimmy Choo, Puma and Levi’s all presented events in LA during the week and lets not forget the MTV Awards.

Art, music and fashion are beginning to cross roads in PS on a regular basis, thanks to the bi-coastal interest of New Yorkers and Angelinos who have had enough, mostly of overpriced real estate. Virgin America now offers seasonal non-stop flights from JFK to PSP. Is it really becoming a midcentury modern Williamsburg or a renaissance of it’s party hey dey in the 50's? Every destination has its moment, but time dones not repeat, although it rhymes, somehow. The unique energy and powers are still owned by the gods of the desert. Not everyone can survive. What about when it clears out in 115-degree weather? There’s a lot of time for self-reflection and most young urban professionals can only handle that for so long. Speaking of reflection, local artist, Phillip K. Smith III, whose art “Reflection Field” was the star of all of the installations on the fields of Coachella. Really, it was more like a draw for “selfie” taking. Only in SoCal kids, only in SoCal.

As Mr. Haldeman said, “one of the charming things about Palm Springs is that it doesn’t really matter what type of flip-flops you’re wearing. In the Hamptons I suppose they’d have to be Marc Jacobs.” Well, he has already come and gone. Let's revert back to Coachella. LA-based event producer Caravents dressed up the ACE Hotel, tastefully, for the Marc Jacobs hosted soiree. #MBMJSunnies was a launch of the brand’s new sunglasses. All décor was in harmony with the design of the shades. Color blocking in pale green pink, blue and orange hues, from the retail display to the ping-pong tables. Fresh-faced celebs turned out during the day, Sofia Richie, Francesca Eastwood as well as Jessie Metcalf and fiancee, Cara Santana.

I happened to stumble on a friend’s party leaving Marc Jacobs that I was certainly pleased to find. BlogChella hosted the “Firepit Sessions" in a private suite with patio, complete with acoustic music by Joel Taylor Brand and The Pierces, a craft station and refreshing vodka lemonades. I walked out with a personally “bedazzled” leather laptop case and stylish cover-up from Eco Swim. Music meets fashion meets art, with a lot of nice, talented people.

It would not be worth mentioning some of the swag, booze and food, one had access to, which was generous to the general public, not just celebs. Onsite, the Heineken House, enhanced the experience with over 20 surprise music collaborations, live art and unique food creations by top chefs. All around town, dropping in hottest hotels, was the POPSUGAR RV doleing out Secret Deodorant, Bare Essentials dry shampoo and Olay Fresh Elements body products.

These products will definitely be used this week at EDC when temperatures and the crowds intensify. Or maybe not? It is the desert after all, where all things are looking aesthetically modern and radiant. Optimism or an illusion, the future, and the economy will tell how our friends in the desert will fare. Off to Vegas baby! Follow @bonvivantgirl live.

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