Joshua Tree Music Festival

By Barnett English
Cover photo: Carly Foulkes

Global sounds abound at the Joshua Tree Music Festivals. For the past 21 years, scores of international artists have graced the stage at JTMF. Lido Pimienta (Colombia), Seun Kuti (Nigeria), Jambinai (Korea), Dahkabrakha (Ukraine), Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), Kinky (Mexico), Los Amigos Invisibles (Venezuela), Kraak & Smaak (Netherlands), Trad Attack (Estonia), Nortec Collective: Bostich y Fussible (Mexico), Gaudi (Italy), Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars (Sierra Leone), Oka (Australia), Bomba Estereo (Colombia), Ou (Italy), Vieux Farka Toure (Mali) come to mind. Variety is the spice! Cross-cultural representation on the stage opens us up to new experiences and perspectives, fosters empathy, and creates a far richer experience for the music lovers on the dance (desert) floor.

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That said, the greater Joshua Tree area is home to a wildly talented and eclectic array of musical masterminds. The burgeoning music scene here is poppin’ off, and the per capita ratio of musicians here is off the charts. The magical Mojave desert attracts and inspires. So, alongside dazzling international acts, JTMF lineups always feature a strong representation of stellar local talent. The performances by local artists are every bit as spellbinding and dynamic as the global superstars mentioned above.

Check out the local artists below, as they will be rocking the the 22nd Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival, May 16-19:

Las Tías

Timeless boleros and Rancheras speak to modern sway in the music of Las Tías. The duo formed by Giselle Woo and Janine Rivera is steeped in Mexican American heritage and deeply rooted in the Coachella Valley. Their musical vision is generous, confident, and closely harmonized. Photo: Cierra Breeze

Cactus Wine Experience

Cactus Wine Experience is a dirty blues and dusty boots rollickin’ roadhouse revue full of song and dance, wild west romance, and girls that will kick up a row. Cactus Wine brings high energy performance for all you late night lovers for an experience born right out of Joshua Tree, California. Photo: Penelope Valentine


Q.varo elegantly creates harmonious melodies together looping guitar, bass, vocals, and beats into a unique soundscape bound to take listeners on a mysterious and sultry trip. This cohesive alchemy of sound has been weaved into a cascading tornado of creativity with a whole new impression of music, which is heard in their dynamic song writing. From angelic vocals, alluring chaos to hot dance grooves. Photo: Penelope Valentine

Mikey Reyes & The Feeling

If you witnessed their set at the past four JTMFs, then you know this collective is a wildly talented musical force. Their shows are transcendent, diverse and uplifting. Composed of local desert (high and low) denizens, and led by Michael Reyes (Desert Rhythm Project), they pour their heart and soul into weaving a poignant tale of love, loss, fury and the funk. Rhapsodizers, Soothsayers, Truth Players & Popular Prognosticators. Photo: Penelope Valentine

Wildlife Freeway

Using piano, voice, guitar, melodica, kalimba and various instruments, Wildlife Freeway music and performances weave stories and sounds of Earth beings stepping out of time into the present musical moving stillness. Photo: Carly Foulkes

Anna & Cassie

A harmonious duo, blending the bass and ukulele into heartfelt melodies. Hailing from the urban rhythms of New York and the desert soul of Joshua Tree, their music is a poetic journey through life, love, and emotion. True friends who find their voices through song and share a deep love for poetry.

Abe Tostado

Abe has been playing records since 1986. He’ll play almost anything and everything and has rocked clubs from Amsterdam to London to S.F to L.A. The YV resident’s vinyl DJ sets are dance-floor detonators.

Sister John Angela

Sister John Angela blends trance elements, impressionistic freedom, glimpses of Tejano, and inspiration from the Balkans, bridging timeless folk idioms to the present moment in what’s been coined “Desert Jazz”.

Madame Harlequin

Liesl Clouse emerged as Madame Harlequin in 2020, devoted to sharing love through entertainment, art, teaching, and healing. Her original music is poetic lyricism dreaming aloud over ricocheting basslines; cosmic laughter and divine feminine energy, sex magic spells, and soul power in flow state.


MTN GRL is a collection of meditative teleportations through lyrics, chords, and the love for natural and synthetic sounds. Spencer Keizer is using the guitar to create songs through sequencers, field recordings, the inspiration of friends, and the ever growing heavies that is motivation to keep connecting and believing in love. Following the voice and the words that gently hug on the heart strings.

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