Twice each summer, Palm Springs converts from a laid-back retiree outpost into a haven for the youthful and party focused. Although the desert resort city has long been a retreat for celebrities and snowbirds, the extreme heat during the summer months has kept Palm Springs relatively quiet mid year... until now.
The brainchild of siblings Tyler and Kelly McLean, Splash House has allowed Palm Springs to reincarnate itself into a vacation destination even in triple-digit heat. Beginning in 2013, the multi-venue pool party/music festival hybrid has grown in popularity, hosting thousands of twenty-somethings throughout the three-day weekend.
Held in June and August, Splash House showcases the best house and techno DJs spread throughout four different venues, each offering unique experiences not found elsewhere. Three resort hotels host daytime festivities where guests can relax poolside, partake in balcony decorating contests or bust a move on the dance floor. At night, a museum opens its doors to partygoers, offering a chance to dance alongside World War II airplanes well into the wee hours of the morning.
The festivities began on Friday night as Splash House presented its After Hours party at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Allowing itself to set the tone for the weekend, the nighttime event was a standout. The underground rave scene comes alive as revelers dance the night away under a massive hangar housing combat aircraft from the bygone eras of warfare.
The museum's flying collection stands front-and-center, allowing guests to dance alongside the historic planes. Mister Blaqk, Greg Arthur, Kidnap, and Dusky performed on the tarmac on Friday night. On Saturday, the stage was lit up with performances by Nala, Lee Wells, Dom Dolla, and Shiba San.
The epicenter of the festivities was shared by three resort hotels and their pool complexes. The Renaissance, Saguaro, and Riviera Hotels became the joint headquarters of the weekend, sharing between them over forty artists in two days. While only a mile or so apart, guests had access to free shuttle buses that would transport them to and from the resort hotels.
Boasting the largest pool complex in the city, The Renaissance greeted fans with open arms as they arrived to dance along to some of the biggest names on the lineup. Saturday saw acts like DJ Susan and Rambo as opening acts for CID, Pete Tong, and a DJ set by Justice. On Sunday, the pool at the Renaissance blasted beats by Zimmer, Thomas Jack, A-Trak, and Armand Van Helden.
The kitschy, colorful Saguaro Hotel was another setting for music, bathing, sun, and fun. Balconies surround the entire pool complex at The Saguaro, allowing hotel guests to let their creativity run wild and decorate their terraces with some of the wildest, kookiest and funniest pop culture references. Those posters and banners adorning the iron fences made for the perfect backdrop as artists like Dirty South, Kill Frenzy, Offiah, and Bones took to the stage on Saturday. Among the DJs spinning on Sunday were AC Slater, Low Steppa, Weiss and Robbie Rivera.
Setting the standard for vibrant, chic and retro mid-century vibes was the Riviera Hotel. The sprawling luxury resort invited guests to groove to the sounds of acts like Ark Patrol, Memba, Cray, Medasin, and Troyboi on day one. The second day showcased the talents of Silva, Soulection, Pluko, and a DJ set by Jai Wolf.
Now in its sixth year and growing in popularity, Splash House has transformed Palm Springs' relatively quiet summer season into a hotbed of activity. The combination of pool parties and house music is nothing new, however. Splash House takes that concept and sprinkles it throughout the city. Its multi-venue approach (alongside free shuttles) gives attendees a rare experience not found elsewhere.
The accompanying after hours event is a standout amongst open-air late night events. Perched on the outskirts of town surrounded by the sandy desert, the evening soiree beckons to the earlier days of the rave scene. Adding to the allure is the vintage aircraft that surround the dimly lit dance floor.
Splash House returns to Palm Springs August 9th-11th, 2019. Find tickets, hotel packages and general festival information here.