Experience Mon Petit Mojave

What started as a way to keep live music alive during one of the darkest periods in our collective history, has become a beloved experience in the high desert.

Imagine driving up to a wooden stage framed by a majestic Joshua Tree. The brown and purple hills surround you, almost touching the sherbert colored sky as the sun begins to set. A soft glow of rainbow-colored lights floods the stage, while a band you may have never heard before plays French Jazz, Soul, or some melancholy Blues. You sit back in the comfort of your car and look up to see the glittering milky way overhead. That’s the magic of a drive-in concert at Mon Petit Mojave (MPM), a unique experience that was born as a way to safely gather and listen to live music during a time when musical and artistic experiences had come to a halt.

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The idea was born both to fill a void in the community, and a void for the artists themselves.

People needed music; musicians needed to play. Mon Petit Mojave was a safe way to bring the two together.

As time passed and life returned to whatever we consider normal, music and art popped back up in the usual spaces: indoor venues, theaters, bars, restaurants, festivals.

But the magic of MPM seemed to transcend the pandemic, and the community kept supporting and asking for more shows. “We soon realized that it’s not just the uniqueness of Mon Petit Mojave that transcended time, but it’s the way this uniqueness has served all members of our community,” shared MPM’s co-founder, Jacqueline Levi.

“Our free shows allow families of all sizes to attend without worrying about costs,” Levi added. “Our driven setup is flexible and can accommodate persons with special needs or physical disabilities. Our focus on community and providing a welcoming atmosphere has created a safe space for many individuals who would otherwise not feel comfortable in the other spaces where live music can be found, such as noisy, crowded bars.”

With all this mind, MPM became a 501c3 non-profit in the summer of 2023, officially called the Mon Petit Mojave Foundation. Their mission is to bring more accessible musical, cultural, and artistic experiences to our desert communities through drive-in concerts which provide a unique way to experience live music, the great outdoors, and a communal gathering all in one place.

Between their first show on March 22nd, 2020, until present day, Mon Petit Mojave has produced over 150 shows, hiring over 200 musicians, welcoming over 15,000 guests, all run by an experienced production team, many of them volunteers. “We’ve worked with San Bernardino County on permit regulations, and with the help of Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, we have received grant funding from the California Arts Council, The National Endowment for the Arts, and more,” shared Levi. “Our journey as a non-profit is only beginning, even though we have been operating like one several years now.”

In April of 2024, MPM held their first official benefit concert, “High Notes,” to fundraise for their mission to produce more free, drive-in community concerts this year. With a plan to host shows in June and October, their hope is to keep bringing people together in a memorable way, to enjoy culturally rich, world music under the sunsets and the stars.

To get notified when the upcoming season lineup is released, head over to www.monpetitmojave.com.

All photos by Julie LaFlamme

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