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The battle over a rock fest that Joshua Tree locals say will rattle wildlife and the desert town's chill vibe

The battle over a rock fest that Joshua Tree locals say will rattle wildlife and the desert town's chill vibe

This high desert enclave has long been a refuge for nature lovers, artists, seekers and misfits of every stripe, drawn as if by a magnetic vortex to its otherworldly landscape of weather-sculpted rocks and forests of the spindly icon for which the reputedly chill town is named.

In recent months, though, Joshua Tree’s peace has been shattered as neighbors have been at each other’s throats over a local meditation retreat’s plan to jump on the desert music festival bandwagon — a decision its director this week said she would reverse, after the organization’s Desert Daze concert in October.

Nestled on a 400-acre spread along California 62,...

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