Best Desert Festivals in Palm Springs 2016

What a year it’s been for the arts and music scene in Palm Springs. Although this area has long been considered the laid-back escape for people from all over the world, Palm Springs is also one of the biggest meccas for festivals happening deep in the heart of the Mojave.

As we call it a wrap on 2016, it’s only right to pay homage to the memorable moments that made this year in festivals one for the books. Plus, it’s never too early to start the countdown to 2017 when Palm Springs will continue as the place to be come festival season.


Having celebrated its 27th year, the annual film festival kicked off the social calendar for Palm Springs. The festival honors some of the biggest stars in film and premiering films for two-plus weeks worth of screening.

One of the most memorable events of the 2016 festival was the return of the recently introduced Book To Screen two-day event. The symposium featured conversations and Q&As with screenwriters Phyllis Nagy (Carol), David Nicholls (Far From the Madding Crowd), and author Jeffrey Tobin (The People vs. OJ Simpson), among others, who know what it takes to successfully transition a written story or script to the big screen.

Looking forward to 2017: Award-winning actresses Amy Adams, Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae will all be honored at the festival’s annual award gala on January 2, 2017.


Palm Springs continues to see the emergence of many world-renowned chefs command the kitchens of some of the most sought-after restaurants, making the desert a buzzed about culinary destination, in addition to the place people flock for fun in the sun. Foodie favorite Chef Cat Cora made an appearance at this year’s festival to the delight of VIPers who clamored to get a glimpse of the Food Network Iron Chef in action.

Looking forward to 2017: Don’t miss one of the best culinary events of the year hosted by Bravo’s Top Chef judge and Food & Wine’s Special Projects Director Gail Simmons starting Friday, March 24, 2017.

COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVALCoachella Music Festival CarouselPhoto credit: DomCarver | pixaby.com

Quite possibly the “IT” festival of the year, Coachella never disappoints with its headlining acts and emerging indie bands. Not to mention the continual fascination with festival fashion where the theme every year is: anything goes. People go for the experience, the selfies, and oh yeah, the music, too. Could it be 2016’s most memorable Coachella moment was Rihanna’s surprise appearance during the Calvin Harris setlist? Taylor Swift sure seemed to think so. Or, should credit be given where credit’s due to 80’s rock superstars Guns N’ Roses?

Looking forward to 2017: The lineup has yet to be officially announced for April days in the desert, but rumor has it Queen Bey herself is scheduled to appear; alongside cult favorite Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar. In the game of wait-and-see, the anticipation is almost too much for ticket holders to bear.


The music barely stops ringing in the ears of Coachella goers before Stagecoach rolls in and sets up shop with its own music festival, country-style. Carrie Underwood’s 2016 appearance has to be one of the most memorable festival moments, being American Idol’s most beloved alum. But people also got excited for a closer listen to Chris Stapleton, especially after his performance with Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMAs.

Looking forward to 2017: Unlike Coachella, Stagecoach gives up its lineup earlier on and 2017’s setlist includes the likes of one Ms. Shania Twain, following her sold out, 105-show residency in Las Vegas from 2012-2014. Not to mention country music legend Willie Nelson. No big deal.

DESERT TRIPDesert Trip in Palm SpringsPhoto via: stocksnap.io

The term “living legends” should be used sparingly, but there’s no other way to describe the acts that performed at the inaugural Desert Trip this past fall. One weekend welcomed six Hall of Fame worthy acts – The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, and The Who, who all ceremoniously took the stage to remind Palm Springs that rock is far from being over.

Looking forward to 2017: They started with a bang, so who could be next? Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead, and Carole King have all been tossed around as legacy acts to make an appearance at the ultimate classic throwback festival.

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