Luna Negra.

A goth scene is developing in the Coachella Valley—and a husband-and-wife duo that goes by the name Luna Negra is largely responsible for that.

Edgar and Karla—they declined to give their last name(s)—have been working on creating a goth scene in the Coachella Valley for 2 1/2 years. Their events take place at Bart Lounge in Cathedral City and have featured musicians who cover goth music genres like dark wave, post-punk, death rock and beyond. On Saturday, Dec. 4, Luna Negra will feature DJs including Danza de Luna, Luna Divina and Dead Romeo.

“It’s been a labor of passion, a labor of love,” Edgar said during a recent phone interview. “It’s been something that we have worked at every single day. … It consists of thinking of different ways to feature the broad spectrum of artists who are accessible to us, either because they are nearby geographically, or they are touring through the area. Basically, if we can fit them within our budget, we do our best to make it happen.

“We also put together shows in such a way that the … bands that we select complement each other. They don’t necessarily have to sound alike, but definitely create a journey. … We would hope that in the process of having this experience, people are being introduced to music they have never heard before, and they will be intrigued enough to inquire about the artists, and hopefully those artists will gain new followers, record sales, merch sales and new fans.”

While the events are made with enjoyment in mind, there is an emphasis on community rather than party.

“That’s been one of our most important quests—to create a community, because I know that people are here,” Edgar said. “We would travel for two or three hours to go to L.A. or San Diego or wherever it may be to see a band that we are passionate about, and while we were going out there, we were meeting residents from out here, which ultimately got us all talking and thinking about why no one is doing this out here. Having had experience in the past organizing events, I figured, ‘Well, I can do this.’ I thought the time was right, and it has definitely proven to be. The response we’ve gotten has been really heartwarming, and I have to say that we were not expecting anything like this. People get it; people are ready for it; and people have been wanting it.

“The goth scene is not for everyone. We understand that, and that’s actually a good thing, but we certainly want to make it accessible to anyone who wishes to explore it. We are certainly not gatekeepers, and we’re not trying to be elitist or exclusive. All that we ask is that if you come to our events, please come with an open mind and an open heart. There is, of course, a warm welcome waiting for you, but let it be known that we do not have any tolerance for racism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, or any form of misogyny or sexism at our events.”

Edgar said he was drawn to the goth community when he was going through a “dark time” in his life.

“I had been introduced to it before, but never really got into it in the way that I did during that period of my life,” Edgar said. “Ultimately, I felt comfort and solace and empowerment through the music and the community—and that, in a big way, helped me to get out of that funk.”

“All that we ask is that if you come to our events, please come with an open mind and an open heart. There is, of course, a warm welcome waiting for you, but let it be known that we do not have any tolerance for racism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, or any form of misogyny or sexism at our events.”

Edgar, of luna negra

Edgar expressed nothing but gratitude toward Bart Lounge, the home of Luna Negra events in the Coachella Valley.

“We did try a couple of different places before we ended up at Bart Lounge,” Edgar said. “Ultimately, it takes an owner who is as passionate about pushing the envelope as you are. It takes an owner who is open-minded, and someone who loves to create or offer experiences to their patrons. We were very fortunate to meet such people, and the owners of Bart Lounge have been incredibly welcoming to us and to this concept. They have welcomed us with open arms and given us a great amount of creative freedom. They’ve been incredibly helpful in making sure that the events have what they need, and that the aesthetic is there for us. They’ve even helped by making some necessary upgrades to the venue, because we do bring a lot of bands and people from all over Southern California, so … they contributed by upgrading the speakers, the mixer, the lighting, etc. Overall, they’ve just been an incredible, unbelievable gift from the universe to us, and we are very happy there.”

On top of planning events, Luna Negra also heads up a DJ collective.

“There are four of us, and my wife and I are the founders,” Edgar said. “We were the only two DJs of this style of music in the Coachella Valley that we knew of when we started this, so at first, it was just us DJing the whole night at every event. Luckily, it was not too long after when we were able to introduce another DJ, a local who goes by the name of Dead Romeo. He has been a tremendous help. As you can imagine, running these events and also performing or being a DJ all night long … can be a lot. More recently, we brought in another DJ from Tucson, Ariz., Mijito, so now there are four of us.”

Edgar hopes that Luna Negra’s events can help change the perspective people have on goth music.

“We’re grateful to be doing what we are so passionate about, and to have it affect people in such a positive way,” Edgar said. “Our events are truly filled with gratitude, love and appreciation, and we infuse that into everything that we do. I think that the people see it and feel it and reciprocate it, and we are truly creating something beautiful together. We invite everyone who’s curious about goth music to come and check it out. There’s nothing evil about it. People seem to think that “dark” means “evil,” and that’s not true. There are a lot of misconceptions that people will be very pleasantly surprised to learn are simply not correct.”

Luna Negra will feature DJs Danza de Luna, Luna Divina, Dead Romeo and AHSATAN at 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec, 4, at Bart Lounge, 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/luna.negra.goth.nights.

Matt King

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...

2 replies on “A New Goth Scene: Luna Negra’s Goals for Its Events at Bart Lounge—Showcase Great Performers, and Create Community”

  1. I’ve been going to Goth Nights with Luna Negra since their re-open after lockdown and I must say they’ve been amazing every time and I’ve gotten the opportunity to see some of my favorite artists because of Karla and Edgar, I’m so grateful to have a community in the valley. The goth scene is growing here and it’s absolutely refreshing. Best of all, I’ve never been concerned for my wellness and safety at any of these events. Thanks again Luna Negra for giving me a safe space to be myself!

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