What Is Neon Carnival? Coachella’s Favorite After-party, Explained

While unaffiliated with Coachella, Neon Carnival has become the music festival’s favored after party — a massive bash with rides, games and big-name DJs. It’s invite-only; you have to know someone to get on the list for a wristband. And while it’s grown to 10,000 attendees, to creator Brent Bolthouse it’s all family.

“I think what set Neon Carnival apart is that you can run into friends from all over the world hailing from Tokyo, Sydney, London, New York, and Miami to gather in one place for a night underneath the stars,” Bolthouse, entrepreneur and event producer, told WWD in an exclusive statement. He began hosting the carnival in 2009.

THERMAL, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: (L-R) Jared Leto and Brent Bolthouse attend Levi's And Tequila Don Julio Neon Carnival, with Hydration By Liquid I.V. on April 16, 2022 in Thermal, California. (Photo by Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images for Neon Carnival)

Jared Leto, left, and Brent Bolthouse attend Levi’s and Tequila Don Julio Neon Carnival, with Hydration By Liquid I.V. on April 16, 2022 in Thermal, Calif.

Getty Images for Neon Carnival

Held for one night at Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, Calif., on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. until late, 2024 marks its 13th anniversary.

“We started the first Neon Carnival 12 years ago with Armani Exchange — little did we know that we had a tiger by its’ tail,” he went on. “Part of what makes Neon Carnival so unique is that we are constantly evolving the guest experience.”

The guest list has included Paris Hilton, a regular through the years, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, Drake, Justin Bieber and many more known names in entertainment.

“I’m so excited to see all the happy faces and watch this generation put their phones down and have fun in the real world,” Bolthouse added.

The DJ lineup this year includes Grammy Award winner Anderson .Paak, also known as DJ Pee .Wee, DJ Hunny Bee and James Kennedy of “Vanderpump Rules.”

The head sponsor is Liquid I.V., an electrolyte drink mix powder, with support from Patrón — offering VIP table service with its El Alto — and longtime partner Levi’s.

Additional sponsors include Ghost Energy, Tangle Teezer, LaCroix, Coca-Cola, Nütrl Vodka Seltzers, French bee Airlines, ApeCoin, Heineken and Path Water.

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