Aspen Times Road Trip Report: Splash House |

Aspen Times Road Trip Report: Splash House

William Gross
Special to The Aspen Times
The scene at the Riviera in Palm Springs during the Splash House music festival last weekend.
Nikki Jahanforouz/Courtesy photo |

The desert has always been a place where you can truly escape the hustle and bustle of wherever you call home. Add three hotel pools, 50-plus world-renowned DJs from all genres and a group of adults that truly want nothing but to bring back their spring break college days and you get the festival in Palm Springs, California, known as Splash House.

As I pulled up last weekend to the Renaissance Hotel — one of the three venues — and entered, I could already feel the energy from the crowd. People dressed up in costumes, everyone sending good vibes your way, tan and toned beautiful people splashing around in the pool and a few braving the 110-degree heat and dancing on the deck near the stage.

After enjoying a margarita and a Lincoln Jesser set, it was time to get over to The Riviera to catch a set by Phantoms. The Riviera had a much different vibe from the Renaissance: the hotel was luxurious and this pool was a lot more rowdy than the Renaissance. The pool was packed, situated right in front of the stage, and people were splashing water uncontrollably. Beach balls were flying and the crowd was ready to take the party to the next level.

Then it was on to the final hotel, The Saguaro. Man, I don’t think I could have imagined what I was in store for there. I walked outside into the pool setting, with a grassy area in front of the stage splashed with neon colors and a hip motel feel. I felt like it had been transformed into a bohemian scene in the desert where everyone had escaped their real lives and transformed, guided only by love and passion for music, through what would become a magical day. The music coming from the stage was by Desert Hearts Crew and had a psychedelic vibe. It was almost like you were hanging with Hunter S. Thompson himself.

After the set by Desert Hearts Crew, I was able to get some house music in my life by the female duo Blondish, who put on my favorite set of the weekend. My body just couldn’t stop moving and at times felt like I was back in Bangkok listening to a set at the Weekend Market.

The party never seemed to stop at this event — I returned to the Renaissance to catch Kaytranada and dance into the night.

As I left an after-party at the club and checked into my hotel for the night, the front desk clerk asked me how I would sum up Splash House.

“You come to the desert to escape the reality of life itself and meet great people and listen to great music,” I told him. “Splash House was able to accomplish all of that and more.”

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