Splash House hosts a weekend of poolside revelry and cutting-edge music
Splash House returned to Palm Springs, California on August 8 and 9 for another weekend of poolside revelry and cutting-edge music. Though this edition coincided with the same weekend as Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, Splash House kept an impressive number of festival-goers in the south of the state. The boutique festival is known for culling some of the best emerging talent from the surrounding Los Angeles dance music scene, and this iteration was no different.
The three venues each had their separate vibes, and attendance at each fell mostly in line with what has become standard in Splash House’s multiple runs. The Hard Rock, which replaced the Hacienda Beach Club as the third venue, saw a mix of new and established talent. Jai Wolf, OWSLA newcomer Mark Johns, Moon Boots, Jonas Rathsman, and Shiba San were among the artists playing the new venue, and those who chose give the Hard Rock a shot were rewarded with groovy bass house in a less-crowded setting. The Hilton hosted The Knocks, a rare stateside set from Cause & Affect, tropical icon Goldroom, and genre-benders Yolanda Be Cool. The Hilton was a new addition to the venue circuit in June, and festival veterans noted that there was a corresponding rise in attendance share this August. The Hilton and the Hard Rock were also conveniently across the street from each other, meaning that a shuttle wasn’t required to bounce between sets.
The Saguaro remained the most popular (and crowded) of the venues. Even as early as 2 pm, it was hard to even see the pool water between dancing bodies and under pool floats. Many of the festival’s most well-known artists like Klingande, Treasure Fingers, Trippy Turtle, and Mija played the decks at the Saguaro. Sounds ranged from tropical-tinged to trip-hop, and served as a feel-good soundtrack to the all-day parties raging before the DJ booth. Dave Winnel’s remix of Shiba San’s hit “Okay” got a lot of play all weekend long, as did The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” (in various remixed forms).
One thing that sets Splash House apart from other music festivals is the physical proximity to the artists allows attendees to see some more intimate moments between artists than is possible elsewhere. It was not an uncommon sight to see DJs dancing wildly on stage during others’ sets; or leaving the artist area to mingle with fans at sets.
Another upgrade to the Splash House experience was moving the After Hours shows to an outside venue: the Palm Springs Air Museum. Since the temperatures in the desert stay scorching even when the sun goes down, keeping the dancing outside allowed the curated party to continue all night long. Sounds were skewed towards gritty bass house and underground stylings on Friday night, with HXV, Droog, and Lee K in residence. Saturday was a bit more future-tinged, with Wax Motif, Jai Wolf, Klatch, and Two Shoes spinning alongside aircraft. Sunday night, a free surprise after-hours party was announced, with Mija playing to a massively hyped crowd just as energetic as Friday’s.
Splash House has perfected the formula of combining a music festival and pool party, keeping the atmosphere raucously fun but treating the music part very seriously. It’s not often the case that there are two chances every summer to see the latest in dance music in a totally unique venue, and if the amount of repeat offenders in attendance is any indication, the festival is doing something very right.
Photo Credit: Felicia Garcia