If you are without a Coachella ticket, no worries: The Ace Hotel has you covered with the fifth annual Desert Gold event.
Desert Gold is an 11-day festival that coincides with Coachella, and it started with a bang on Thursday night, with DJ sets in the Amigo Room featuring the Coachella Valley’s own DJ Day; BBC Radio personality Benji B; and Flying Lotus.
DJ Day got the crowd pumping with his remixes of various rap songs and funky anthems. Benji B, known for a wide variety of sounds at the mixing board, started with a gentle instrumental and worked his way up to faster mixes before turning over the mixing board to Flying Lotus.
As the evening progressed, standing space became hard to come by, but that didn’t stop crowd’s urge to dance. Flying Lotus, grandnephew of Alice and John Coltrane, whipped the capacity crowd into a veritable frenzy with his meditative and energetic infused style of electronic dance music.
Desert Gold offers events during both weekends of Coachella—and the days in between. Best of all, the events are all free to attend. You can take a swim in the pool with pool toys designed by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO; enjoy a wide variety of DJ sets and bands; or kick back and enjoy a cocktail inspired by one of the Coachella artists. The vodka based “Blurberry Lemonade” had hints of cinnamon and real blueberries; as strange as the concoction was, it was very refreshing.
Third Man Records—founded by Jack White—has an on-site store selling vinyl records and Third Man merchandise at reasonable prices. I was awe-struck by the selection of singles—starting as low as $6—from the White Stripes, Tom Jones, and Stephen Colbert with the Black Belles. There’s even the Jack White and Insane Clown Posse collaboration of Mozart’s Leck mich im Arsch that left many confused last year.
Third Man is also selling live albums—recorded in the Blue Room of their Nashville, Tenn., headquarters—which are normally website exclusives.
Here are some upcoming highlights:
• Miss Lily’s—a Jamaican diner, radio station and record shop from New York City—will be onsite selling the diner’s famous jerk chicken on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14.
• NPR Music will be featuring live music in the Amigo Room on Monday, April 15, and a special karaoke night on Tuesday, April 16.
• Local bandleader JP Houston will also host his weekly podcast from the Amigo Room on Wednesday, April 17.
• Warp Records will be kicking off the second Coachella weekend on Friday, April, 19, in the Commune, featuring Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus, Warp DJs and an unannounced special guest. After experiencing Flying Lotus’ set in the Amigo Room on Thursday, I can say this is something that you don’t want to miss.
• Third Man Records will host live bands at poolside on Saturday, April 20, with performances by Carly Ritter, Courtney Jaye, Dough Rollers and Gap Dream, Y DJ Blue Jeans, and Moon Beams.
• Just like it started, Desert Gold will close with a bang, featuring a performance from Redd Kross and Coachella Valley’s very own Eagles of Death Metal on Sunday, April 21.
Desert Gold runs through Sunday, April 21, at the Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free, but some events may reach crowd capacity. For a full schedule, www2.acehotel.com/desertgold/schedule.