By Megan Wadding, May 2015 Issue.
Palm Springs is a desert oasis that beckons travelers from across te globe and every walk of life – particularly in the spring. From the annual Coachella Valley Music Festival weekend and Modernism Week to the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the annual Kraft Nabisco Championship Golf Tournament (formerly the Dinah Shore Golf Championship), there is something for every one.
Just as Mariah Hanson’s Club Skirts Presents the Dinah attracts droves of lesbians year after year, so too does Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party draws tens of thousands of gay men from near and far for “the largest dance music festival in the world.”
In its 26th year, the White Party Palm Springs will take place April 24-27 and include guests appearances by hottest DJs from around the country, performances by LeAnn Rimes, Natalie La Rose and Glee’s Alex Newell, pool parties, celebrity sightings and a day at the water park.
According to Sanker, 26 years ago his friends Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans invited him to Palm Springs to see their annual Girl Bar Dinah Shore event that coincided with the annual golf tournament.
“The tournament always attracts a lot of lesbian fans, so they had a really good crowd,” Sanker said. “I saw it and said, ‘I can do the same thing for men, even bigger.’”
Sanker, who originally invisioned the weekend as a spring break getaway for men, said he cannot believe how large and influential the White Party weekend has become since its inception back in 1989 – which was one DJ in a hotel ballroom.
“I always had faith in the event, even during the first three years when I was investing a lot of money just to build the brand,” Sanker said. “Now, White Party has become an annual tradition of many, I’m thankful and proud of that. Sometimes I look out over the crowd and think, ‘My God, what have I done?’”
This year, Sanker said he’s expecting more than 30,000 men from all over the world over the course of the weekend.
“We get attendees from all over now,” Sanker said. “We always get a great contingent from Arizona. It’s become an annual tradition for a lot of guys from Phoenix and Tucson.”
While the weekend attracts loyal White Partygoers year after year, there are always a large number of first-timers in attendance. Sanker advises all White Party virgins, to pace themselves, be safe and have fun.
“Like always, I want everyone to come and have a good time, enjoy themselves,” Sanker said. “Drink lots of water. Don’t forget sunscreen!”
The weekend formally kicks off with the Friday Splash Pool Part at the Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs (the event’s host hotel) followed by the Addicted to White Underwear Party where everyone is invited to “dance with no pants.”
Then, Saturday will feature the first-ever Jeffrey Sanker Presents Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs event. White Party attendees will exclusively take over the 21-acre water park, which boasts more than 20 water rides.
“We will have the entire facility to ourselves, including all the slides and attractions, as well as cabanas with front-row views of all the action,” Sanker said.
According to Sanker, there will be a custom stage and full sound system pumping music from DJ Gustavo Scorpio, DJ Grind and DJ Ray Rhodes throughout the park.
This is the weekend’s only event for ages 18 to 21, and Sanker expects it to sell out. For the less adventurous, the Saturday Splash Pool Party will take place at the Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs.
The White Party, the weekend’s main event, takes place Saturday night at The Palm Springs Convention Center. The event will feature Frankie Grande, widely known as brother of singer Ariana Grande and as a “Big Brother 16” cast member, as this year’s White Party Ambassador and Kelly Osbourne, fresh off of “E! Fashion Police,” as the Queen of White Party.
“Both will be hosting the festivities on the White Carpet,” Sanker said. “With [her] haute couture style and outspoken personality, Kelly is a perfect fit as Queen of White Party. She will be on patrol for any fashion violations.”
Sanker added that attendees are expected to dress in white, and he encourages everyone to be “white carpet ready”.
Entertainment will include guest DJs – DJ Chris Cox, DJs Chus and Ceballos, DJ Nacho Chapado and the O’Halley Brothers – taking turns on the 1s and 2s.
The Sunday Splash Pool Party, at the Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs, will keep the momentum going and seguay into the evening event: The Circus T-Dance. Billed as the largest outdoor T-dance party in the world, the event will feature performances by “Glee” star Alex Newell, Dutch recording artist and model Natalie La Rose and Grammy Award-winning, multiplatinum recording artist LeAnn Rimes.
“It’s truly an honor to have a music legend like LeAnn joining us,” Sanker said. “We look forward to an absolutely magical performance.”
The Circus T-Dance party, which will take place right in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, will also rides on the White Party Ferris Wheel, guest DJs and a choreographed fireworks finale set to a musical remix by DJ Wayne G.
“We will have more performer announcements coming soon,” said Sanker. “I always like to keep a few surprises up my sleeve to the very last moment.”
For more information, tickets and a complete list of events, DJs and venues, visit jeffreysanker.com