A brand new movie about the untold story of Reagan-era guerrilla desert happenings now recognized as the inspirations for Burning Man, Lollapalooza, and Coachella including Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Swans, Einstürzende Neubauten, Redd Kross and more.
what a great captivating movie. With unique footage taken from the ideas inception this documentary takes you through a journey of discovery of how the desert festivals came about how they began with their mystery tours taking Californians out into the desert and how they powered up the sound systems and time on time it grew into what we have today with the travelling circus tours of Lollapalooza.
Man how hip were these cats? from the get go they had some of the best bands and performers on board and seeing the likes of Perry Farrell photographed at the first one and no doubt went on to inspire the Janes Addiction frontman to front his own festival. The talking heads of Thurston Moore and Farrell are crucial and interesting but its the stories from the likes of Redd Kross that make me smile with the innocence and spirit of adventure.
Imagine buying a ticket for a show meeting up at a rendezvous point then getting on a school bus to be driven out of southern California for three plus hours into the dessert for to be met with guys blowing up metal drums or explosions and hearing some cool as fuck music from the likes of Minutemen or Sonic Youth. We take it for granted these days and some even go Glamping at their festival of choice but None hold the energy or excitement of what they captured on these grainy films way back in the early ’80s.
Remember this is pre internet, pre mobile phone, pre satellite link up pre saturation and copy cat events this was the real deal a hidden underclass of art and music that was thriving and I guess the inevitable happened as more became aware and more wanted in the festival moved and changed its a fascinating insight and a really enjoyable flick through time.
The film makes you smile at the DIY of rock and roll and how anything is possible and art can and will make a difference. If you love the music its a bonus but if you just like a really well shot and captivating subject then its a no brainer. Get the popcorn in sit back relax and enjoy ‘Desolation Center’
Author: Dom Daley