Babes Ride Out

How Did Babes Ride Out Create Their Event Space? We Didn't, Meet Barnett English of the Joshua Tree Music Festival

PeopleAshmore Ellis

It takes a village is a saying we hear a lot but sometimes do not get to fully understand. The power of people coming together to build an idea, a feeling of community, and a place where people gather to celebrate music, art, culture started in Joshua Tree long before Babes Ride Out existed. Meet the creator of the Joshua Tree Music Festival, Barnett English. He has spent the past 14 years creating the space we use for our biggest event, Babes Ride Out Joshua Tree, with the help of countless people that have given their time and energy to building this unique venue. If you want to get inspired, read on. 

"I visited the campground in OCT 2002, kicked around the idea of  "this would be a great place for a music festival" i moved to Joshua Tree in Jan 2003 and the inaugural JTMF happened April 11-13, 2003.  I'd worked at hundreds of music festivals (vending with our organic espresso cafe, JavaGogo), but had no experience producing an event, nor money, sponsors, or financial backers.  Just a couple of credit cards and some blind faith. Having been to hundreds of music festivals, I was (am) a firm believer in the powerful positive benefits of communing with happy souls in an outdoor setting soaking up world class music.  My life had been changed dramatically, in a positive way, and I'd witnessed that with thousands of others as well.  I was still terrified to the point of sleeplessness.  

Barnett English and crew pulling in the first pillar to the event space in the early 2000s. 

Barnett English and crew pulling in the first pillar to the event space in the early 2000s. 

Year one was about 600 of our festival friends, having a tremendous, enjoying a highly disorganized festival!  Now, 25 festivals later, the festival is a well oiled, fine tuned machine of merriment with 3500+ attendees of all ages having transformational experiences. To witness extended family and friends bonding, sharing, creating, dancing, and laughing together is a priceless experience for me. Money can't buy the goose bumps and feel good stories that transpire !  When I see thousands of people enjoying the Joshua Tree Music Festival I feel elated to the point of tears. We encourage community involvement, and have 125-150 volunteers come out prior to each event to paint, build, create, and shape the space.  Now, 15 years into it, all the installations and creations together create a magical space to gather. 

My best job is being a papa to Lola, age 12! I am happiest when hanging with my daughter, Lola, and sweetheart, Lynne of course but in addition to producing/organizing two JTMF's a year (May & Oct), I co-produce the Guitarfish Music Festival (July 2018) in the Sierras near Truckee. With JavaGogo, our organic espresso cafe, we vend at 20+ more music festivals (Coachella, High Sierra, Lucidity, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and more) every year.   With some friends here in Joshua Tree, we've started a 501c3 non-profit - Joshua Tree Living Arts - to enrich lives, empower people, and strengthen community via educational and art programs at the festival, in the community, and in schools.  Lastly, we've got a fleet of Cozy Camper Trailers that we rent out to special events.  

Enjoy what you do, and do what you enjoy - Barnett English

If you'd like to know more about the Joshua Tree Music Festival and Guitarfish, click on the links below: