Last year, Desert Generator was one of the more unheralded events of the festival season. Taking place the weekend before Coachella at Pappy & Harriet’s, the event featured a slew of heavy, stoner rock bands and showcased custom vans.
Paying tribute to the generator parties in Palm Desert where bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Yawning Man and Throw Rag got their start, the first year’s event was a success. Fans and bands alike had a good time and laid the foundation of which they’re continuing this year.
“It was a great success in some guys coming together with an idea, throwing it out there and everyone having a good time,” Brant Bjork says of the fest’s maiden year. “We didn’t have any expectations really, it was about the pursuit of a fun party. The result was such that we wanted to do it again.”
Having minimal expectations for the event made the benchmarks for success easy. For one, at a festival like this one, it would be understandable if the crowd got a little rowdy (“It can be expect with a lot of custom cars and beers. But there were no knuckleheads.”). But, Bjork says, everyone was on their best behavior and understood that the spirit of the event was to have a good time.
Now back for round two, the event, which is the brainchild of former Kyuss co-founder Bjork, manager/promoter Ryan Jones and Rolling Heavy Magazine, aims to pick up where last year’s even left off. The event will once again feature a similar array of hard rock and custom vans.
“Even from the get-go, the idea was to create something that we can look forward to yearly,” Bjork says. “Just like anything, practice makes perfect. You learn how to learn how to things more effectively. There weren’t any massive disappointments or anything you’d consider a failure.”
For fans wanting more than just the one-day standard fare, a Friday night package has been added. Last year, people arrived to the event early, so in response, the festival has a pre-party planned that really rolls back the years. Called Stoned & Dusted, the event will be an actual desert generator party at a yet-to-be disclosed location with performances by Fu Manchu, Yawning Man and Bjork with special guest Throw Rag’s Sean Wheeler.
“It’s literally out on the middle of the desert being generator powered,” Bjork says. “Immediately after last year, was something we wanted to incorporate into the whole concept. We’re already super excited that people are talking about it. It’s going to be awesome.”
Saying that they’re “still making this up as we go,” having no expectations for Desert Generator has allowed Bjork and his co-founders to enjoy the event. Unlike a festival that’s primarily concerned with making a profit, this one is an ode to the scene where Bjork came up through and channeling that spirit through this event is something he’s excited to keep reliving.
“When you’re a kid in a rock band out in the desert, you’re playing these things because it’s all you got,” he says. “It’s probably the same for all those dudes in the mid ‘70s who had to play CBGB’s because there was no place to play original music. Looking back, the generator parties back in the day were some of my favorite times growing up as a young musician. To take the fun elements of that and wrap it up and put it together as an event for people of all ages can go experience it now, I feel very lucky to do that.”
For tickets, full lineup and info on Desert Generator Fest on Saturday April 8, click here.
Daniel Kohn is a writer based in Southern California. With bylines in an assortment of outlets, Kohn primarily specializes in music with other interests ranging from sports to food. As a transplant, Kohn loves the beautiful weather and is glad he no longer has to deal with brutal winters. If you see him, say hi and of course, he’s always willing to down a beer or two…if you’re paying.