The Goal of the Second Desert VegFest: Sharing Info About Veganism With the Coachella Valley
Bryan Lopez is passionate about the vegan lifestyle—so passionate, in fact, that he produced a whole festival focused on vegan food back in the spring.
Just six months later, Lopez is back with the sequel: The second Desert VegFest—a whole day of food, music and guest speakers—will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus.
“I went vegan two years ago, and I have a lot of friends ask what I eat,” Lopez said. “‘What do you eat? Grass?’ I get poked at a lot, because a majority of people don’t understand it—so I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a lot of food into the valley that people can taste to try to disprove many people’s misconceptions. Vegan food is good, but a lot of people don’t know that.”
To Lopez’s knowledge, Desert VegFest is the only vegan-centered festival in the Coachella Valley.
“There are a lot of vegan festivals throughout the U.S., and I tried to use their formula to do mine,” Lopez said. “For the most part, I did what they are doing—but I plan to do different things in the future now that I know what I’m doing and am more confident with myself.”
While Lopez pulled off a great festival in the spring, he learned a lot of lessons—some the hard way.
“There were a lot of last-minute expenses,” Lopez said. “There was a big tent that we had for the artists, but we found out we couldn’t stake it down into the ground because of the piping, so I had to pay out-of-pocket for some cement blocks.
“The night before the festival, our generator got stolen. That was also expensive, but it also delayed the music by an hour and a half. … It was definitely a trial-and-error experience, and I know I’m going to be better (this time).”
The May event hosted some 2,000 people celebrating the vegan lifestyle by chowing down on food from various vendors.
“I’m hoping that a lot of people get to try the food, because the way to people’s hearts and minds is through food,” he said. “You can show people facts and statistics about going vegan, but the truth is that it’s all about the taste of the food. If I could get some people to consider going vegan just by trying the food, then that would be great.”
The second Desert VegFest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus, at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive. Tickets are $3 online, or a buck more at the door. For tickets or more info, visit www.desertvegfest.com.
Sing along: “It’s the most yummiest time of the year!” To translate: It’s time for the 28th annual Indio International Tamale Festival! It all goes down on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, in downtown Indio. Admission is free (but alas, the tamales are not). Expect a food-truck park, a farmers’ market, entertainment, beer gardens and all sorts of family-friendly fun. Get more details at www.tamalefestival.net. … Now open: Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, at 73040 El Paseo, in Palm Desert. The high-end seafood restaurant is owned by the same company that runs The Capital Grille; learn more at www.eddiev.com. … The second annual Golden Grapes Wine Festival will take over the Commune at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. This joint production of the Ace and the Palm Springs Wine Festival will feature more than 50 winemakers “who are part of a radical shift in the wine industry in the Golden State.” Ooh! Tickets are $85; $99 gets you a VIP ticket, which comes with a free bottle of wine and admission to the soiree an hour early. Get those tix at www.acehotel.com. … Coming soon to 13104 Palm Drive, in Desert Hot Springs: Taste of India. That’s all we know for now; watch this space for more info when we get more info. … New to 461 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs: Las Palmas Brewery. The microbrewery and natural wine bar is the latest feather in the growing cap that is the Coachella Valley beer scene. (Apologies for that terrible analogy.) Visit www.facebook.com/laspalmasbrewing to learn more. … Coming soon to Palm Springs, at 170 E. Palm Canyon Drive, next to Kreem: Gabino’s Creperie. Watch www.facebook.com/gabinoscreperie for updates.