Festival Report Card

Festival Report Card: Splash House Weekend 2 2023

Palm Springs has always been an oasis of sun, palm trees, and pools, but Splash House has now been turning the California hotspot into an electronic hub for ten years.

This festival takes over three popular resorts for one weekend in June and two in August for a poolside house music home where flip-flops, bathing suits, and dancing until sunset are the norm.

Attendees are encouraged to stay on-site at one of the hotels where balconies overlook the action and they can go in and out of their hotel room and back to the event as they please.

Not to mention the two afterparties held at the Palm Springs Air Museum where ravers can get the authentic house and techno experience.

We attended the second weekend of Splash House from August 11-13 and had an absolute blast despite the heat and tough logistics. Read below to hear about our experience:

Vibes: B

The crowd at Splash House is a complete mixed bag of fun, out-there ravers and Southern California locals all looking to dance in the sun.

We found so many people in the crowd who were all about PLUR, handing out toy ducks, and inviting you to their balcony overlooking the pool to make friends.

It was so nice to feel that sense of community despite the heat that could have made attendees cranky.

But on the other hand, there was a “fratty” energy among some of the crowd that made many of the women uncomfortable. There was never anything inappropriate, but you could practically see the men make a beeline for groups of women to just try their luck and invite you back to their “after party at a house in Palm Springs.”

Production: B+

The sound and visual aspects of Splash House were minimal, effective, and well-balanced across all of the hotels/stages. The Renaissance also had a stunning LED wall that was super bright even under the hot Palm Springs sun.

Aluna sang many of her songs live and it was great to be able to hear her vocals over the splashing no issues. The after-party production was also unexpectedly great. The lights were bright and it truly felt like an underground warehouse.

We didn’t feel like anything was missing. The music-first approach was refreshing and it made sense with Palm Springs’ chill atmosphere.

But we weren’t blown away by any feats of modern production and maybe some extra CO2 cannons, lasers or a few more visual screens could have added to the experience.

Music: A-

The first weekend of August for Splash House isn’t known for bringing in the highest billing acts, but we were blown away by the quality of every single performer.

ODESZA’s after-hours DJ set was absolutely legendary with the duo playing everything from Jamie XX and Bicep to drum & bass and hard-hitting dubstep.

But the daytime sets didn’t disappoint either. Cut Snake, Felix the Housecat, and CID all threw down. For a festival of 90% pure house artists, the sound never felt stale and the energy never slowed.

We did, however, miss some of the big ticket names that are usually on Splash House’s roster. While the weekend after scored Sidepiece, Channel Tres, Kyle Walker, Chris Lake, Skream, and more, we felt this weekend could be really hard to justify the hefty price if you aren’t into mainly exploring new artists.

Venue: B

Taking over three hotels to form one massive summer festival is a task in itself and Splash House seems to have it mostly down after ten years in Palm Springs.

Going from one venue to another seemed to take about 30 minutes and could be a hassle if you like to stage hop, but we never waited for more than 15 minutes for a shuttle.

Although it felt kind of strange to be sardined into a bus with a bunch of other sweaty ravers and there was no shade while we waited for a shuttle at many of the stops.

But they did give out free water in line with misters and shade all throughout the venue. Air-conditioned hotel lobbies were open to all, and offered a lot of amenities to help stay cool and hydrated.

The partnership with PRIME was also great to help keep electrolytes up while dancing up a storm. We think some form of hydration supplement should be offered at all festivals!

The option to go in and out of the festival as you pleased was also great. If you were overheating, tired, or hungry, you weren’t forced to decide between spending money or being comfortable and it really helped to keep spirits up throughout the event.

But at Margaritaville and Saguaro, we felt the dance floor was too small for those who wanted to get up close to the DJ. While you could dance around the pool, it seemed somewhat dangerous to have such a packed amount of dancers either crammed in one space or blocking the walkways.

Margaritaville was also extremely confusing to get around, so some signage would have been appreciated.

Overall, the venue poses challenges that many other festivals would have crumbled over, but we felt safe, comfortable, and confident as we traversed Splash House.

Overall: B+

Overall, we expected certain difficulties from Splash House but were pleasantly surprised by the amount of effort put in to mitigate them.

We expected heat but there was plenty of mist, water, and shade. We expected to dread going from hotel to hotel, but as long as we planned there were no issues.

We expected hot and irritated ravers or to feel uncomfortable wandering around in just a bathing suit, but instead, we were met with love, community, and connection.

Even the Uber drivers wanted to make sure we were safe and comfortable throughout the weekend and it truly went a long way for morale.

If you are looking for an all-encompassing festival where you can make friends and discover new music and aren’t too hung up on fireworks, pyrotechnics, or gigantic artists, Splash House could be your perfect festival.

 

All images courtesy of Splash House, featured and first image credit Blake Daryaie, second image credit Carlo Cavaluzzi

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact.

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