After years of waiting and wishing, festival season’s debut out in Indio did not disappoint. This past April has been weekend after weekend of trekking to the desert to join our long-missed festival tribe to dance the nights and days away thanks to some of the most impressive lineups we’ve seen in a long time. Just as inspired as the entertainment was the fashion and food. Being denied the creative freedom of expression during quarantine years seemed to be the catalyst for the explosion of talent everywhere we looked.
As harsh as she is gorgeous, the California desert does not joke around. The sun becomes exhausting if one does not take proper respite between sets, which is why we were awash with relief to experience so many oases of wellness, rest and connection in the form of the exclusive party houses peppered throughout the valley.
A lot of brands and influencers have been out partying amongst the Joshua trees the last few weeks, and Irvine Weekly joined in on the fun, hosting their own festival retreat houses that almost made us forget why we were in the desert in the first place. With an exclusive guest list, IG pool of our dreams, wellness activations and skincare experts to keep us feeling fresh and dewy no matter the UV index, Irvine Weekly’s festival retreats made us feel like we were living in a dream.
Hollywood darlings alongside musicians, artists, influencers and all-star chefs made up the majority of the Irvine Weekly guest list, with some of media’s biggest personalities invited to kick back and splash as well. Guests included Ashley Greene, Dylan Efron, Yung Pinch, Natalie Alyn Lind, Kaylie Altman, Ryan Tang, Christina Milian and No Jumper represented by Trevor Potter – just to name a few. With so many blue check marks relaxing in one place it’s no surprise that the sponsors and their activations went above and beyond.
Curated activities included a meditative relaxation yurt hosted by luxury skincare brand Míage. It was there where McKayla Maroney announced her collaboration with the celebrity skincare line, inviting party guests to join her to recharge their senses, protect their skin from the harsh desert heat, and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime gifting opportunity. On the property were also two high-performance BMWs from the BMW Performance Driving School, including a BMW M4 GT4 race car, where guests had a chance to win an exclusive desert racing package.
Guests enjoyed a surprise set from Theophilus London – with his music director Snake Child on drums and DJ Sky High – where he performed many hits including songs off his album Bebey in over an hour-long set.
Partiers sipped on Tres Generaciones tequila, who served cocktails garnished with fruit frozen with liquid nitrogen to help keep the heat away, with Kurvana manning a station with engraved vape pens and classic Ford Mustang to keep everyone’s engines running.
Foodies were raving about Chef Leandro Bongorra, who served up upscale, delectable cuisine all three festival days, with a brunch on Sunday that has us begging to go back in time to enjoy it once again.
Superbird cocktails kept the wings of guests’ memories aloft thanks to a creative painting station where one could stop by to handcraft a souvenir of the dreamy weekend. Poncho the Artist put memories in ink thanks to his mobile tattoo van where guests could enjoy free tattoos. Simply unforgettable were the fresh, delicious beignets fried on-site by Christina Milian and her company, Beignet Box.
Guests stayed hydrated thanks to POM Teas, who brought along partner Wonderful Pistachios to keep bellies full. Shields Date Garden offered a date body scrub and a taste of their famous dates, a must-do for any desert trip. NUTRL had a cart serving up ice-cold vodkas seltzers in a can, because it’s not a real pool party without a good seltzer! Speaking of pool parties, Cool Cat saddled up poolside to serve up their famous wine spritzers in a can in between judging games of cornhole.
Guests came from the festival worn out, but left looking fresh thanks to Lemonhead LA glitter makeup, who was on hand to keep 2022’s theme of sparkle on point for all faces. Fix Your Lid hair products had a pop-up salon to keep locks fresh and out of your face, while Canadian Classics and mou had windbreakers and sandals that made every outfit festival ready. Party-goers hoping to spot an influencer were drawn to this activation, as it was a hotspot for names like Dallas Haert, Shaka Smith, Hadley Horner, Ashley Schultz and more.
Red Cup Nation kept the party going with two days of fun DJing while L.A. Weekly cannabis editor Jimi Devine brought down the house with an exclusive cannabis competition. Those with the munchies could enjoy Candy Pop’s candy popcorn, Mule 2.0’s canned Moscow mule, Brewery X’s hoppy offerings, New Belgium beer, Caliwater cactus water, Celsius energy drinks and SouthNorte canned cocktails.