Tyler McLean

PalmSprings.com Spotlight: An Interview with Tyler McLean of Splash House Palm Springs

Tyler McLean was born and raised in Palm Springs. After attending Palm Springs High School, he attended UCLA—graduating last fall with a degree in Communications and Political Science. He’s also the force behind this summer’s largest pool party, Splash House—a multi-venue pool party weekender debuting this August 10th & 11th in Palm Springs. Kate Buckley recently sat down with Tyler to learn more.

As a 20-something Palm Springs native, you must be excited about the renaissance afoot in Palm Springs—particularly with regard to the younger demographic. Did this overall shift lead to your idea for Splash House?

Tyler McLean: Definitely.  It’s exciting to witness the current renaissance and I hope it continues!  Splash House was conceptualized for many reasons, but I’d say the current popularity of Palm Springs is what it gives it the opportunity to succeed.

What will be the unique aspects to Splash House? Will it be the anti-Coachella? Give me your elevator spiel.

Both the music and the model are what make Splash House unique.  The lineup will feature indie dance/house and nu-disco, styles of EDM that are a great fit with the Palm Springs culture.  The model itself of connecting hotels together for a weekend, and making pools the stages will be one-of-a-kind experience unlike anything on the market currently.

You’ve mentioned Palm Springs’ unique pool culture—both past and present (at one time, Palm Springs had the greatest concentration of pools per capita in the world). Can you talk about how this played into your overarching concept for Splash House? 

Palm Springs has an incredible pool party tradition––from the famous pools of the El Mirador hotel and tennis club through the spring break years and now today.  Pool parties have remained a fixture in Palm Springs through generations and we love the idea of showcasing that tradition.  Aside from this though, the model itself is uniquely feasible in Palm Springs because of the high concentration of resort pools.  We’re able to host one event amongst several hotels, without the troubles of distance or traffic.  Add in the palm trees and mountain backdrop, and you have a perfect fit.

You’re partnering with three different hotels whose pools will serve as the “stages” for the event: The Saguaro Palm Springs, Caliente Tropics and The Curve Palm Springs. How will the scene or “vibe” differ for each hotel? Will there be different lineups of music, art and events for each hotel, or will they rotate?

Similar to most music festivals, artists will be playing simultaneously amongst the different stages throughout the event.  As a result, music goers will have the opportunity to switch stages at any given point to hear a different artist.  With Splash House, the main difference is our stages are poolside, creating a completely unique music festival atmosphere. We are also excited to have partners in LED, Pacific Festival, & Private Label—event promoters in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles respectively.  Each of them curated a stage lineup geared for a certain vibe, so by hosting them at three separate hotels with their own unique theme we’ll have a blend of different pool atmospheres that together makeup Splash House.

Sunshine, swimming pools, music, art, and food in the resort destination of Palm Springs—sounds like a recipe for success! To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been done before. What sort of feedback have you gotten? How are ticket sales so far? 

Yes, to my knowledge bringing together three hotels for one music-centered event has never been done before.  The feedback we have gotten so far has been incredible—people are genuinely excited about a summer getaway in Palm Springs, and the chance to see hear some of their favorite artists poolside.  As for sales, the lineup really kickstarted it for us, and I expect that trend to continue to grow as we reach more people every day.

You just released the lineup of 19 musical artists. Will you be releasing more names in the upcoming weeks? How many total artists are you expecting for the entire event?

Yes, we have another big batch of artists being announced this week!  That will bring our count to mid-20s and with a few more to be added as we get closer, I expect the total to be at 30 when all is said and done.

Tell us more about the music—what sort of artists are in your lineup?

Overall, the lineup is very diverse—which is the benefit of bringing in three different promoters to curate the lineup.  The lineup is a mix of indie artists pioneering the modern disco and house music scenes, with many having played alongside some of the worlds biggest DJs.  Considering the exploding popularity of disco and house music at the moment, it is an impressive lineup that Palm Springs should be very proud to host.

Do you envision Splash House as a complete destination weekend? I assume most people will stay at the partner hotels; will transportation be provided between the hotels and downtown? Do you plan to keep people engaged in the evenings or will this be solely a daytime event?

The benefit of Palm Springs is that it does become a true weekend vacation so, yes, we do want to have plenty of activities.  We will have shuttles running downtown to visit our local shops and restaurants plus some other potential night time activities on tap.  So with the model and these add-on bonuses, the value of Splash House is the full weekend getaway experience.

Who’s your demographic? I assume my 60-year-old mother wouldn’t want to go? What about my 35-year-old sister? Drive markets only or are you reaching out farther?

The pool-hopping music experience may appeal more strongly to the 20 – 30-somethings, but overall the event is something for all ages and demographics  because there will be something for everyone.  My parents may not know any of the names on the flyer, but I fully expect them to be dancing poolside with me!

You’re working with three seasoned promoters in the feeder markets for the event. What’s their reaction been thus far to both the concept and the Palm Springs market?

They loved the concept and the opportunity to be a part of a new event in Palm Springs, as opposed to piggybacking off of Coachella & Stagecoach weekends.  So I think that is a result of the potential all three of them see with the Palm Springs market.

What’s the future you’d most like to see for Palm Springs?

I love the direction it is currently in and I hope to see this trend continue to grow.  For the future, I most want to see Palm Springs grow as an innovator in entertainment and style.  With its history and all of Southern California at its doorstep, it has an unlimited potential.

Tyler McLean, why do you feel so passionately about the town of Palm Springs?

I was born and raised in Palm Springs and care about its success, but I have always been troubled by the “closed for summer” business signs. I want Palm Springs become a year-round destination, and Splash House is a step toward demonstrating that it can be.

About Kate Buckley

Kate Buckley is a brand strategist, premium domain broker and consultant, interviewer, storyteller, visual artist, and award-winning poet & writer. She’s worked in media and marketing since 1997, holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and is the author of A Wild Region (Moon Tide Press) and Follow Me Down (Tebot Bach). A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her awards include a Gabeheart Prize and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. She was most recently shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. A ninth-generation Kentuckian, she’s made her home in Southern California since 1998.

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5 comments

  1. Tyler is an extraordinary young man. I had the pleasure of being his 2nd and 3rd grade teacher. Aside from being handsome he is intelligent and creative. This project to invigorate and add fun to our beautiful Palm Springs only touches the tip of his incredible mind. Tyler has so much support here and so many people care about him. I am proud of where he is going and the fact that he is taking Palm Springs with him!

  2. Best of luck to you, Tyler, on this innovative venture!

  3. Tyler, thanks for hosting this and also creating a DJ contest! I did enter, I would appreciate it if everyone here took a second to vote for me =] https://wavo.me/apps/charts/splash-house-dj-contest/7980991903710000

  4. I went to Hacienda to see what all the hype was. Had a Margarita and some lunch. I saw Tyler and his family as I know who they are from PSHS. Daughter graduated same year with Tyler. I told the friends I was with I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyler and family either were running the event or owned the Hacienda. Looked it up and I was right. Great to see the success Tyler. Good for you!!