The week before Robyn belted out this tune in the Mojave Tent at Coachella 2011, she performed at White Party Palm Springs. Springtime is prime time for live music in the desert, and it all starts with The Dinah, which kicks off Wednesday, and White Party Palm Springs, April 6-9. (Marilyn Chung, Desert Sun file photo)
Lady Gaga, Chely Wright, Salt-N-Pepa, Erasure and Freemasons.
Those big names are just the beginning of a long list of artists who’ve entertained springtime crowds in the desert.
But don’t go looking for them on past years’ Coachella and Stagecoach posters. These acts all performed a few weeks before those festivals, across town at two party weekends in Palm Springs aimed at lesbians and gay men.
The Dinah, also known as Dinah Shore weekend, and White Party Palm Springs precede the Indio festivals by a week or two each year, bringing artists who sometimes play on Indio’s stages as well. Robyn, for one, played White Party 2011 a little less than a week before she played the Mojave Tent at Coachella.
Palm Springs’ parties also predate Coachella and Stagecoach; each dates back more than two decades. In recent years, the promoters behind both parties have put a sharper focus on the musicians they book.
The Dinah often brings pop’s next big thing to Palm Springs, along with a few established acts, as Sonya English writes on MyDesert.com:
Considering the event’s track record includes Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha, it’s a hard point to refute.
Mona Elyafi, who’s handled The Dinah’s publicity for four years now, remembers in 2009 pitching Lady Gaga stories and hearing countless replies of “Lady who?”
“Everybody goes, ‘Who?’ and then a year down the road you go, ‘Oh my god, she was at The Dinah,’” Elyafi said.
The lesbian music and dance fest kicks off Wednesday, and along with pool parties and comedy shows, this year’s lineup features these musical acts:
• Neon Hitch
• Jessica Sutta
• Nina Sky
• Chaka Khan
• CeCe Peniston
• Rye Rye
• Wynter Gordon
The next weekend, it’s the men’s turn to soak up the sun, play in the pool and bounce to the beat at White Party Palm Springs.
Over the years, promoter Jeffrey Sanker has also attracted big names in pop like Gaga, Ke$ha and Jennifer Lopez. But in 2010, he decided to put some extra spin in the turntables at his event, aimed at gay men.
“For me, it’s talent driven by DJs … almost like it is at the Winter Music Conference or Coachella,” Sanker told me that year.
White Party runs from April 6-9, and its lineup includes:
• Mary J. Blige
• Melanie Amaro
• DJ Dave Audé
• Moto Blanco
• Porcelain Black
• Meital Dohan
• France Joli
• Kimberly Cole
• NiRé AllDai
• Colette Carr
• Rosabel (DJs Ralphi Rosario and Abel Aguilera)
• Jessie and the Toy Boys
• Jessica Sutta
• Liz Primo
• Kwanza Jones
Add in back-to-back Coachella weekends and an expanded Stagecoach, and the desert’s set to jam for the next five weekends in a row. And unlike the big east valley festivals, which sold out earlier this year, tickets are still available for both Palm Springs parties.
The Dinah: http://thedinah.com/
White Party: http://www.jeffreysanker.com/