Written by Bryan Deng
Splash House Quick Facts:
Crowd type: College, Trendy, 21+
Music genre: Deep House, Tropical House, Future Bass
How To Get There
Palms Springs is about a two hour drive from both LA and San Diego, so if you are coming from out of the area it would be best to fly into either of these cities. The centralized location of the venues allows residents from the surrounding area to easily get home when the music stops for the night.
Where To Stay
For the sake of brevity, in this review “the hotels” refers to the Riviera Palm Springs and the Saguaro Palm Springs where the music stages are located. Of the two, The Riviera is newer and larger and therefore more expensive, but the Saguaro also has much to offer even at the lower price point (more on this later). You can reserve a hotel package at these two resort-style hotels or book another nearby hotel, motel, or Airbnb.
The bars and restaurants in the hotels were usually packed and pricey. Fortunately, Palms Springs offers a variety of restaurants and bars outside of the venue, and you can easily make a quick trip to the grocery store (or the 24-hour McDonalds) to pick up any supplies to bring back to your room.
The stage setups at the hotels were small, simple and designed for close quarters. While the Riviera boasted two stages in separate pool areas, the sound at both these stages lacked punch. Maybe it was the curvy hotel layout and all the tiki themed architecture that absorbed the sound, or it could have been a technical problem. Only when you were next to the speakers did it sound like it was supposed to, and most people I talked to expressed similar disappointment. On the other hand, the one stage at the Saguaro felt just right, as the box style layout made the sound bounce off the walls and surround you no matter where you were. Plus, you could barely hear the music from the streets. The Palms Spring Air Museum that hosted the after parties was also great venue right next to the airport, with wide open space and a larger stage setup.
Artists You May Not Have Heard of But Can’t Miss
The June lineup this year boasted house and electronic DJs from all over the world with a good mix of popular, underground, and local artists.
One artist that I became new fan of was Nora En Pure. I was able to snag an interview with her after her summery set on the main stage. Check out the full interview HERE.
Other notable performances include Croatia Squad, Cut Snake, and Justin Jay & Friends, where Justin Jay’s deep house set was punctuated by guitar solos, drum solos, and light hearted rock band jamming.
Things To Do
Besides chilling in your hotel room and playing in the pools downstairs, there wasn’t much to do except enjoy yourself and the music. The extent of the art installations were theme decorated balconies, which many had put a lot of thought and craftsmanship into. In the future it would be nice to see more elaborate official art installations, although that could be difficult with limited room in the public hotel space.
Why Go VIP
While a hotel package will add $200 to $400 dollars to your budget, having a balcony room completely changes the festival experience. Out on the main dance floor the sun can be punishingly hot without some shade and a water source. Suddenly the guy with the Super Soaker becomes everyone’s new best friend. However, out on the balconies you can hear the music perfectly, you don’t have to deal with the crowds, and you are in the shade and can dip in and out of lifesaving air conditioning whenever the heat is too much. Split the cost between a few more friends and the price goes down even more. The trouble is actually snagging a reservation, which sell out very quickly (currently sold out for August).
What Makes The Festival Different?
The best way to describe Splash House is a low key alternative to the Las Vegas pool party scene. The smaller and more intimate setting is a refreshing change to the giant crowds at larger festivals, or packed and sweaty clubs.
If you have a hotel package, get there early on Friday to reserve the best room at the hotels. At the Saguaro, hotel packages are sold as “Standard” or “Pool View”. Pool View is hands down the way to go.
Having a car isn’t required since they have shuttles to take you between venues, but it makes supply runs and getting around a lot easier. Parking won’t be available at the hotels, but it’s not too hard to find street parking 1-2 blocks away.
Palm Springs normally isn’t known to be a party town like Las Vegas, but Splash House has the potential to change that. Over the weekend many of the retired locals expressed interest in the event in the form of questions like “What’s going on?” and “Why are all these people here?” The easiest answer is: it’s a big pool party, but Splash House is more than that. It’s a getaway festival for people that go to lots of festivals. At larger events like Coachella, it’s easy to get lost and with so many people spread out, you might not spend as much time with everyone you want. Splash House is much more intimate, with all your friends either in your room or a short walk down the hall. The mountains and palm trees provide a breathtaking backdrop during the day, and once the sun sets, the air cools down to create perfect summer night temperatures. It’s the ideal setting to make memories with a tight group of buddies or a chance to meet new people at your own pace. Everyone in attendance seemed beautiful, carefree and just there to have fun and dance to deep house and future bass music. On top of that you can experience it all twice a year. What more could you ask for?