Do we really need to say anything else? Obviously it should go without saying that we’re immensely proud to be welcoming legendary droners Om to headline The Old Empire stage, and Desertfest at large, in 2019. Al Cisneros, Emil Amos, and Tyler Trotter will be bringing their earthy stoner spirituals to crack open our third eyes and lead us all to enlightenment.

If Sleep are the cosmic stoner dudes going on trippy adventures through the galaxy in bong-powered spacesuits, Om have always seemed like the wise old mystics seeking out deeper truths in the Holy land. Since forming in the aftermath of the Jerusalem/Dopesmoker release debacle and the disbandment of Sleep, Om have ploughed a singular path through the metal minefield. Incorporating elements of stoner rock, drone, and – increasingly - Eastern religious music and chant, Om have created a series of meditative albums that began with 2005’s Variations on a Theme and culminated most recently with 2012’s exquisite Advaitic Songs. Their musical journey has seen them grow with each record, from their humble origins as a two-piece, to their most recent recordings which have featured a more fully-fleshed-out band and a richer musical palette which includes tabla, cello, and piano. Om are a band that are able to both captivate and crush, with sweeping, graceful arrangements and a hypnotic low end that vibrates your atoms. It’s been a while since they released a record so fingers crossed 2019 will bless us with Om album number six.

Of course, Om frontman Al Cisneros is no stranger to Desertfest having played twice before with Sleep in 2015 and 2017, but this will mark the first time that Om have graced the festival and we couldn’t be happier. They will be headlining The Old Empire stage at the Electric Ballroom on Friday 3rd May.

Words: Tom McKibbin


Some may be familiar with songwriter David Eugene Edwards, and his work with Denver’s 16 Horsepower – an alternative country act who blended traditional elements of country with hard rock. It was whilst on a hiatus, in 2000, that Edwards founded the darker and heavier Wovenhand who play this year’s Old Empire curated main stage at The Electric Ballroom on Friday 3rd May.

What sets Wovenhand apart from the norm is the sheer diversity of the music that they produce, which although is hard rock, folk and country at the core, has grown to encompass bluegrass, gothic rock, world music and much more. You cannot pigeonhole them at all, and that’s very much part of the charm.

Edwards, as principal songwriter, unapologetically tackles subjects such as faith, pain, guilt, misery, spirituality, conflict and redemption – and it’s done so with such intensity, that it will become apparent that Wovenhand bring weight not just in their music – but in lyrical content. It’s punishing and miserable, yet enlightening and rewarding at the same time.
If you’re a fan of acts like Nick Cave, Swans, The Handsome Family, Those Poor Bastards, or Steve Von Till – then the Old Empire stage is the place to be.

Words: Rich Harris


If you’re making the trip by car, you can maybe do Kiev to London in 26 hours, depending on traffic. Not a minor journey by any stretch. Still, it’s been far too long that we’ve been wanting to bring Stoned Jesus to Desertfest and far too long that it hasn’t happened. 2019 is the year we get there at last.

“We're stoked to finally play Desertfest London next Spring!” enthuses guitarist/vocalist Igor Sidorenko. “This is gonna be a special year for Stoned Jesus, since we played our first show in 2009… so yeah, we'll be celebrating our first ten years in 2019!”

Stoned Jesus make the trek from the Ukraine to play Desertfest on the heels of some of their greatest triumphs to-date. After showcasing their 2012 album, Seven Thunders Roar, for its fifth anniversary as a result of conquering the internet with it, the band signed to Napalm frickin’ Records for the release of their fourth album, Pilgrims, and hey, it’s turned out to be their most righteous and forward-thinking collection yet. Of course, they celebrated with yet more touring, including a run alongside Mothership and Elephant Tree that’s already become the stuff of legend.

How will Stoned Jesus mark their 10th anniversary? We have no idea, but it seems like a pretty safe bet that Sidorenko -- joined in the band by bassist Serhij Sljussar and drummer Dmytro Zinchenko -- will have a decent amount of his wardrobe to throw out to the assembled masses. Because really, that’s how it goes. You might end up with some new sweatpants.

Stoned Jesus are a band that has truly never wavered from blazing their own path and constantly trying to bring something new to their sound. It is a pleasure and an honor to bring them to Desertfest. Finally!

Words: JJ Koczan


There are very few things that are truly certain in this life. That Nick Oliveri will create hugely passionate yet somewhat unhinged heavy rock music forever is certainly one of them however.

Mondo Generator has either been the former Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age four-stringer's side-project or lead venture on and off since 1997. Careering seamlessly between balls-out, full-throttle garage-punk insanity and subtle, serene acoustic jams, the trio have had a near enough revolving door policy of members since their inception, leaving leaving five full lengths so far in their wake.

The classic debut Cocaine Rodeo and it's follow-up A Drug Problem that Never Existed at the time of recording featured the likes of fellow legendary desert rocks heroes Brant Bjork, Dave Catching, Molly Maguire and Joey Castillo. Oliveri was once even joined on tour by the two Bens - Messers Perrier and Thomas - from Oxford UK's own favourite sons of thunder Winnebago Deal to enact the rugged and raucous live performances that Mondo Generator have made their staple diet for over twenty gruelling years.

And now, with a recently more stabilised line-up of Mike Pygmie on guitar and Jeff Bowman on drums, alongside Mr Oliveri himself, coupled with a rumoured record no.6 on the way, the time to get this Generator started up in the Desert of Camden is upon us... This coming Spring.

Saddle up for the rodeo, this is gunna be a wild ride.

Words: Pete Green


By the time Elephant Tree hit the stage for their set at Desertfest, their second album will have long since been recorded. It might even be out. Or coming out. Or whatever. The point is there’s a damn good chance 2019 belongs to these cats outright.

Sounds like hyperbole? Yeah, it is. But well earned. Elephant Tree released their self-titled debut in 2016 and it was flat-out one of that year’s best records. Not just best first albums, like we’re grading on a curve. Best albums. The songs were there, the melodies were there, the vocal harmonies between guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland (the latter also ex-Stubb, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, etc.), the foundation of groove from drummer Sam Hart -- everything worked. Not a lot of bands hit that mark ever, let alone their first time out.

What does the future have in store for Elephant Tree? Well, those who’ve seen them live either on tour with Stoned Jesus and Mothership or at any number of other fests and shows over the last year-plus have gotten previews in new songs like “Wasted” and “Bird,” but there’s much more to come from these native Londoners, who always provide a good time with riffs and shenanigans alike.

Says Townley: “Attending Desertfest London years ago was one of the main catalysts to decided to start the band! Pete even played the first-ever Desertfest London in 1887 with Trippy Wicked! Last time we played this festival I told a really shite joke and Pete’s trousers fell down (separate to the joke)! Actually, the time before that, Sam had to be carried out of the venue by the bouncers! Also were gonna playing loads of new songs and some club classics.”

Elephant Tree at Desertfest London 2019. You could probably ask for more than that, but you’d be greedy to do so.

Words: JJ Koczan


This Hamburg band's ascension to the sky started out around five years ago and the immediate demand they created has enabled them to hone their sound at a diverse range of shows; everything from small underground gigs, to support for German doominaries like Ahab, to huge international festivals like Waken. The Fighter's remarkably self-assured debut release was 2016’s LP ‘Scars & Crosses’ and on hearing it you'd be forgiven for thinking that they've been dealing out the doom for a lot longer than they have.

Together, singer Mona Miluski, bassist Constantin Wüst, guitarists Christian Pappas & Ingwer Boysen, and drummer Thomas Wildelau summon the dense smog of 70's doom riff worship with plenty of shuffling swagger to keep the hips gyrating. It has been pointed out elsewhere that they have an unmistakably NOLA sound. It's true, Mona’s often scathing vocals see to that, along with a sonic assault which is slowly and deliberately drawn out from a classic tube-driven back line in thick layers of mesmerising groove, but she can croon it out desert style too when the mood takes her.

Desertfest attendees looking forward to some doom casting its shadow over Camden will most definitely want to be front and center for High Fighter's well deserved debut at Desertfest London, since wrecking DF Belgium last year, see you there!

Words: Rich Sheppard


High octane seventies metal is the name of the game for Heavy Psych Sounds Records signees High Reeper, and they do it well.

This Philadelphia five-piece has made one record since forming in 2016. The current lineup of Zach Thomas (vocals), Pat Daly (guitar), Andrew Price (guitar), Shane Trimble (bass guitar) and Napz Mosley (drums) rage in the spirit of the classic marauders, from the famous names like Thin Lizzy to the underground heroes like Leaf Hound.

Taking up the same direct, no-nonsense attitude as Motörhead, most songs put the pedal to the metal right from the get-go and along with reverence of vintage heroes, High Reeper also pay respect to So-Cal skater sounds à la Fu Manchu, and clearly like themselves a bit of southern rock too.  All in all, a combination not to be sniffed at!

Desertfest is very proud to invite them for their first appearance in the UK, this is a fantastic chance to see a band that has until now only played a handful of times in Europe, with friends like Freedom Hawk, so come get High with Reeper at Desertfest 2019!

Words: Rich Sheppard