Desolation Center, the indie music festival documentary which has played numerous film festivals worldwide, is set to begin a national theatrical rollout starting on September 13th in Los Angeles. The film is the untold story of a series of guerrilla music and art performance happenings in the 80s which inspired the birth of contemporary festival culture including Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella. The film combines interviews of punk and post-punk luminaries with rare performance footage of Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, Redd Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Savage Republic and more, giving viewers unprecedented access to a time when pushing the boundaries of music, art, and performance was like an unspoken obligation. Directed by the creator and organizer of the original events, Stuart Swezey, Desolation Center tells the true story of how the risky, and at times even reckless, actions of a few outsiders were able to incite seismic cultural shifts.
The film explores an almost lost subcultural story that will also be a catalyst to future generations to question assumptions and carve out new possibilities to express themselves. As Thurston Moore also described to the New York Times, the mood was “one of complete joy and wonder at being together in a place that might as well have been another planet.” He said the most radical attribute of Desolation Center was that “it asked no permission,” and he called the show “one of the great moments” in the history of Sonic Youth.