2016 marked the third year of intimate summer pool parties out in Palm Springs, CA brought to you by Splash House. A few weeks ago they hosted their second of the year and fifth overall event at the pools of The Saguaro and Riviera hotels and EARMILK was lucky enough to be in attendance for the second time.
The event is obviously known for its pumping pool parties on Saturday and Sunday but what some might not know is that the party actually starts on Friday night with an official opening party at the Palm Springs Air Museum. I made my way out from Los Angeles earlier that day because set to headline that night was Australian live electronic dance group, RÜFÜS DU SOL, with support from quickly rising DJ/producer duo Hotel Garuda. I remembered from the previous year how much fun the night show at the air museum was so there was no way we were missing it. The setting of the after parties was spectacular with old military planes and helicopters surrounding the area next to the hangar, multiple bars to get drinks and even some food in the back, and of course unique stage lit up with LED lights and incredible sound. Although the temperature was about 97 degrees even at midnight, thousands gathered for this experience because compared to the 107 degree heat in the daytime, the after hours was a great time to put on some actual clothes and shoes and be outside without melting in the sun as well as a nice warm up for the next days events.
Hotel Garuda played one of their best sets I've seen to date and as a first-time spectator of RÜFÜS DU SOL (since I was one of the only people in LA to miss their free show at the Santa Monica Pier the night before) I must say I was entranced. They were the only completely live act of the weekend and the vibe when they played their hit song "Innerbloom" was unlike I've witnessed at a show in a while. People were fairly quiet and almost mesmerized by the Australian's inspiring performance. This moment was truly about the music and nothing more and was most definitely a highlight of the weekend for me.
On Saturday it was time to hit the pools to experience the "splash" in Splash House. I found the layout of the event this year to be a bit better than in the previous year. Instead of having three stages each at a different hotel, this year they had two main stages, one at each hotel, and a smaller third stage at Riviera called the Riviera Tiki. This made it easier to see all your favorite acts because attendees only had to go between two different hotels and a free shuttle which also offered free water (major key) ran between them all day long.
First stop on Saturday was The Saguaro which was jam packed with beautiful people all bouncing around to the 4×4 beats of mostly house music. I spent a few hours cruising around to different friends hotel rooms and watching the action from balconies overlooking the pool and stage area, something I've never seen possible at any other festival. Every single room at both hotels is rented out exclusively to people attending Splash House and many of those with balcony rooms go all out with decorations and themes to accompany their epic views of the action. From what felt like different VIP suites I was able to catch most of Durante's set and some of the summer Viceroy, sometimes referred to as the king of summer. Another notable act at the Saguaro on Saturday was MK who closed the day out and I unfortunately missed due conflicting set times (its happens).
I spent the late afternoon/early evening at Riviera which was a new addition this year. It ended up actually being my favorite hotel as the layout of the stages was perfect for people to turn up at one pool and relax a bit while still jamming to some of the best in the business at the other. The hotel was quite large and a bit confusing to navigate at first but once I figured it out there was nothing stopping me from the time of my life. At the main stage Point Point, Hudson Mohawk and Snakehips stole the show for me. All three had exceptional performances with Snakehips closing it out from 8 to 9pm. After that a quick but much needed break was in order before the nights festivities began.
Unfortunately I didn't make it back to the air museum on Saturday but that's one of the beauties of Splash House, there are plenty of other ways to entertain yourself such as bouncing around friends hotel rooms, Air BNBs, or if you are in the know, even some private house parties with top tier talent controlling the sound. This was how I spent my Saturday night although I suspect the after party at the Palm Springs Air Museum which featured sets from Germany’s Claptone and London’s Chris Lake was as incredible as the night before.
The final day of Splash House was also the hottest and after a much needed brunch, I spent some time meandering between the two hotels. The Saguaro featured sets from Bondax and a personal favorite SNBRN, among others while the Riviera saw performances from DJDS, Masego, Gorgon City, Cassian (a late addition), and more.
While many stuck around on Sunday night (or longer) and prolonged the festivities with 'Last Splash' at the Riviera Ballroom, I decided to make the journey back to LA and get some rest before the start of the work week. Another Splash House was in the books and again it was filled with some of the best vibes, music, people and experiences of the summer. Thanks again Splash House. See you next year.