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Seems Like Joshua Tree Residents Are Peeved At All These Damn Music Festivals

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Joshua Tree National Park (Photo by Marc Evans via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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One of the main reasons you would buy a home out in the desert, in a place like Joshua Tree, is to escape the hubbub and noise of living in a major city. The quiet, clear skies of the Mojave offer a serenity unlike most places around Southern California, letting those who live there enjoy quiet and natural splendor in great amounts. It's understandable, therefore, why the people of Joshua Tree are peeved at all these damn desert music festivals.

This October, the Joshua Tree will host three different music festivals, drawing tens of thousands of people to the desert city and its surroundings, according to the Coachella Valley Independent. As the L.A. Times reports, the Institute of Mentalphysics' three-day-long "Desert Daze" music festival is drawing ire of residents who say the rock festival will disrupt wildlife, and will otherwise be a noisy annoyance.

Until 2016, the more than 70-year-old Institute of Mentalphysics had never hosted a music festival. So far this year, the Institute has already hosted two festivals—one in March and one in September. Desert Daze will be the institute's third festival this year, and is scheduled to take place October 14-16.

Residents who live in the vicinity of the Institute, which itself sits just off Twentynine Palms highway between Joshua Tree and the adjacent city of Yucca Valley, say they could hear noise generated by the previous two festivals for miles around. They worry that the Institute's rapid transition from a quiet meditation retreat into regularly used music festival grounds sets a bad precedent, aside from its disruption.

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"It's unfortunate this is happening," said Victoria GeVoian, the executive officer of the Institute of Mentalphysics, to the L.A. Times. "What fascinates me is the meanness of our critics. We're not doing anything wrong, just holding a few musical events."

Aside from Desert Daze, the popular Desert Trip festival (a.k.a. Oldchella, promoted by Goldenvoice) and the second annual Joshua Tree Music Festival will also be coming this October. Desert Trip is expected to draw about 70,000 attendants. Though this is far more than the 2,000 anticipated to come to Desert Daze, Desert Trip is located farther away in Indio.

In order to prepare for its new festivals, the Institute of Mentalphysics also landscaped several acres of land into parking lots for festival attendants.

"Folks around here have a big problem with the institute's seemingly hasty and irresponsible actions inside of an area that is ecologically intact," said Frazier Haney, conservation director at Mojave Desert Land Trust, to the Times. "Removing a few old yucca plants can disrupt the life cycles of countless desert creatures."

Seeing the local dismay, the Institute explained to the Times that they're going to hold off on any future festivals.

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"If it's going to cause such as an uproar, we don't need rock concerts... After Desert Daze, we're not going to do another one," said GeVoian.

Whether or not other venues and venues to be so attentive to the concerns of local residents remains a question.