By Megan Wadding, April 2016 Issue.
Each year, Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party Palm Springs draws tens of thousands of gay men from all over the world for a weekend-long dance and pool party extravaganza.
In its 27th year, the party will take place April 8-11 and include guest appearances by the hottest DJs from around the country, pool parties, celebrity sightings and a day at a water park.
“I came up with the idea back in 1987 [and] the first White Party was in 1989 in the ballroom of the Marquis Hotel, now known as the Hard Rock,” explained Jeffrey Sanker, the event’s founder and producer. “It all started with 500 of my closest friends and now has grown to over 30,000 people over the weekend.”
Not only has Sanker’s event grown in attendance, it’s also drawing guys from across the globe.
“Most come from California, [but] we always get a strong contingent from Arizona, including Phoenix and Tucson,” he said. “We’ve also had guys from as far away as Bosnia and Kuwait attend.”
According to Sanker, the White Party was originally designed to be a weekend getaway to get boys out of Los Angeles to bask in the beautiful city of Palm Springs, but it has grown and evolved over the years beyond his expectations.
“Both White Party and Dinah Shore take over the whole town of Palm Springs now,” Sanker said. “We are part of the community, [and have been part] of what goes on in Palm Springs for over 28 years.”
For 2016, all the events have been totally redesigned to give the weekend a fresh new look. According to Sanker, huge staging with enormous LED walls along with great sound, lighting, lasers and the famous White Party dancers will really dazzle the guests.
“I get inspiration from everywhere; music, movies, TV [and] pop culture,” he said. “I also travel abroad frequently to see what’s going on in other countries.”
A White-Hot Weekend
The weekend kicks off April 8 with the Splash Pool Party, followed by the all-new Commando Military Ball. Commando attendees are encouraged to dress up in their best camouflage gear, in commando underwear or just commando. Both events take place at the Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs (the event’s host hotel).
The following day, April 9, is the second annual Jeffrey Sanker Presents Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs, where White Party attendees will exclusively take over the 21-acre water park – which boasts more than 18 water rides and private cabanas – for the day. This year, attendees can expect a larger dance floor and party areas with Aussie DJs Dan Slater and Wayne G on the turntables.
The White Party, the weekend’s main event, takes place later that evening at The Palm Springs Convention Center. An illuminated entrance will welcome attendees and custom LED visuals and state-of-the-art lighting will take the venue – and the experience – to another level, Sanker promised.
“It’s all day and all gay,” said Sanker. “This year’s White Party main event will be something no one has seen before, an all-new White Party experience,” said Sanker.
Entertainment will include international mega-DJ and producer Offer Nissim and many more. Attendees are encouraged to dress in white or at least to be “white carpet ready.”
Sanker said he wanted to re-imagine and jazz up the White Party this year, drawing some inspiration from international dance parties.
“White Party itself is getting an overhaul with a new look and feel,” he said. “I’m combining White Party with the after-hours party into one main event this year that goes from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. It will be a 10- hour dance marathon similar to what they do in Europe and South America.”
The Sunset T-Dance, which takes place April 10, an outdoor dance party with music by DJs Grind and Ralphi Rosario. Erika Jayne will be celebrating her coronation as the “Queen of the White Party” and a surprise performer (TBA). This party, held at White Party Park in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, features the world-famous White Party Ferris Wheel and the desert’s largest fireworks display choreographed to a special musical remix by DJ Grind and Toy Armada.
“This year at the Sunday outdoor T-Dance, the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ star Erika Jayne will be performing,” said Sanker. “And there will also be a huge surprise performer at the Sunday T-Dance. It will be legendary.”
For more information, tickets and a complete list of events, DJs and venues, visit jeffreysanker.com
DJ Wayne G brings signature style to the water park
DJ Wayne G is coming back to Palm Springs and will be spinning April 9 at Splash! at Wet ‘n’ Wild Party – as part of the White Party’s exclusive day at the water park.
Echo: Are you excited to be going to the White Party?
DJ Wayne G: I am! It’s one of my favorite events in my annual calendar. Jeffrey [Sanker] knows how to throw a party and I love that. After playing the Sunday Tea Dance for a few years at the main White Party, we decided to put me into the brand new water park party. After its debut last year, we thought we would take it to another level. We have some big things planned for the day. You are going to be amazed.
Echo: What can attendees expect from you this year at the White Party?
DJ Wayne G: A slightly tougher sound than I have previously played at Tea Dance, but layered with vocals, of course. [Also], some classics I am revising in the studio. We are going to make this an extra special set that will never be repeated anywhere else in the world.
Echo: How would you describe your set to someone who has never seen you at work before?
DJ Wayne G: That’s a tough one. I like to take people on a musical journey. It is all about the melodies, percussion, vocals and taking people to a higher level through the journey of musical numbers. Expect the unexpected.
Echo: What inspires you musically?
DJ Wayne G: I love so many genres. It’s hard to describe what my musical influences are, but artists as far apart as David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Madonna, Darren Hayes, Adele. You name it.
Echo: Will you debut any new remixes or new original music of your own at White Party?
DJ Wayne G: Oh, yes, that’s what I love about this party. I get to create songs that fit with theme of the party I am playing. I produced the fireworks song for [Sunday] Tea [Party] for the last four years. I love doing that. I can take all emotional elements from the past and artists we have lost in that last year, making it a moment that people will remember forever. You can expect the same for [the] water park. [Sanker and I] have some big stuff planned.
Echo: There has been a lot of talk about vinyl records making a comeback. Do you think this is true?
DJ Wayne G: They certainly are, but not all tracks are making it to vinyl, unfortunately. A lot of the stuff I produce is exclusively for my sets and for this party. So it would be too costly to put those onto vinyl.
Echo: Is there one “signature song” you always try to include in your sets?
DJ Wayne G: Anything with Whitney in it! She was my idol. I always include something of hers. I am working on a new mix for the water park.
Echo: Are there any especially hot new tracks we should keep an “ear out” for during your set?
DJ Wayne G: That would be telling! You need to be there to experience that with the thousands of others that are attending!