Desert Gold Shines Celestial at Ace Palm Springs

Text by Emma Manheimer

Herald of the return to mass joy, Desert Gold graced Ace Hotel & Swim Club for its 13th run and reminded us of how good the company of strangers feels. How much their kindness matters. We were swept up in the temporal taste of unlikely friendships, forged quickly yet nothing short of indispensable. We tipped our hats to the San Jacintos each morning, and drank up the musky late-spring scent of blooming palo verde jumbled with peppery desert sage and, later in the day, weed and sunscreen. Traditions were restored. We were reminded of the cosmic interconnectedness of it all standing in front of artist Kris Chau’s celestial mural, “The Teachings of Menily,” on the Commune Wall. Chau delicately drafted the work, an ode to the land’s fierce life force, using painted papercut sketches to know its colors and shapes. We danced wildly to shake off the dust.

Kris Chau and her celestial mural, “The Teachings of Menily”.

Chau delicately drafted the work, an ode to the land’s fierce life force, using painted papercut sketches to know its colors and shapes.

The weekends’ resident DJs showered the place with sonic frequencies from top to bottom. Pangea Sound curated a three-day lineup, fusing sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and everywhere in between. Pool people and sunbathers shimmied to celebratory all-vinyl tracklists from Chulita Vinyl Club’s LA crew. We’ve even received reports of a flashing during one of the Club’s DJ sets (apparently accidental). Lovelorn songstress, experimental beatmaker and violinist Sudan Archives enchanted the crowd with the sweep of her strings and warmth of her voice. Esty, dressed in a furry, baby pink, bikini-bedazzled two-piece, brought her sugary melodies and surprising mix of future-warped dembow and electronic alt-pop for an unforgettable live set — keep your eyes right here for more on that.

Bambii channels the sunshine.

The magnetic Sudan Archives and one of her two accompanists on the strings.

The Do-Over brought a superstar spinning lineup to the desert, including Four Color Zack.

LA-based hi-fi-ers In Sheep’s Clothing hauled their most serious speakers and the kind of 45s only crate-diggers know out to the desert for their nightly vinyl Amigo Room showing. It was reverential revelry at its finest. Aussie label Future Classic threw a freaking party in the same space, bringing the likes of Shlohmo and Jim-E Stack to the turntables. The Do-Over closed us twice out on a high note, bringing the legendary energy of their tropical party to the Commune along with an all-star cast of friends including Jubilee, Nigel Three Times, DJ Craze and Four Color Zack. We draped ourselves in the luxury of optimism across two April weekends. And hell, did it fit right.

Leon Bridges stopped by and won best sunglasses.

Future Classic kicked off weekend two with an Amigo Room blowout featuring the sounds of Shlohmo and friends.

All hail Esty.