How do you maintain pace in the pool-party business when you’re not shelling out megacontracts to star DJs? In the case of Flamingo Las Vegas, you get creative, and you target the audience that prefers live performers to laptop programming. “The artists that we’ve chosen—the Sisqós, the Tone Lōcs, the Ja Rules—they had megahits in the ’90s and early 2000s, and everyone recognizes those songs,” explains the Flamingo’s Steve Sagan. “Fans know the riffs, they can sing them by heart, so we went after those artists.”
Sagan is in his third year as general manager of the resort’s GO Pool, the adult dayclub within the massive 15-acre outdoor complex that’s famous for its tropical flamingos and waterfalls.
The pool was still a guest-only experience when Sagan took over; he quickly opened it up to the public and went about recruiting local DJs and live performers with cross-generational appeal who are known for their infectious summertime hits. This year’s lineup thus far has included Coolio, who performed on Flashback Friday during Memorial Day weekend, and Flo Rida, who took the stage during the Saturday Day Beats party.
“We’ve definitely been able to put together a mix of old-school and current artists,” Sagan says. “But it’s still the same genre: very radio-friendly music where people recognize the songs.”
The last weekend of June marked the launch of this summer’s Sunday Night Jams concert series. Unlike the Day Beats shows, which traditionally last about 30 minutes,Sagan says, the evening performances—which began with Sugar Ray on June 25—could go as long as 90 minutes. “Everyone does Nightswim in the city,” he explains. “Our concept was to do full concerts and still give them the [Nightswim] atmosphere.”
The GO Pool stage sits just a few feet off the ground, putting fans within arms reach of the artists. During Flo Rida’s performance he was able to dive into the crowd and pull fans onstage with ease.
“We want guests to be part of the experience,” Sagan says. “In some venues the DJ booth is 20 feet up, we put the stage where we knew guests would have direct access.”
Partiers who arrive for Wednesdays Beach Club at Night will find an even more interactive experience, with life-size Connect Four and Jenga games, beer pong, and a fire pit. The concept, which launched in May, runs weekly through the end of September.
Party platters, beer buckets, margaritas and mojitos are poolside staples, and there are plenty to choose from if you’re in the mood.
From the drink menu, Sagan recommends the Sunrise Margarita, made with fresh-squeezed tangerine juice, vanilla and honey. “It’s a phenomenal cocktail,” he says.
If you get hungry, go for the Dayclub Sandwich: shaved turkey, smoked bacon, avocado, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise served on toasted multi-grain bread.
“It’s been our No. 1 seller for the past three years,” Sagan boasts. “I would put it up against any other sandwich on any other menu in the city.”
While Sisqó, Aaron Carter, Jay Sean, Mýa have already swung through GO Pool this season, there’s no shortage of talent on the upcoming schedule.
“Salt Shaker” artists Ying Yang Twins, Yazz the Greatest and Montell Jordan are on tap in the coming weeks, and Bebe Rexha performs September 9.
“Everyone knows ‘This Is How We Do It’; they can sing every verse by heart,” Sagan says.
Taking a cue from Sugar Ray, the Night Jams lineup brings more ’90s nostalgia, with upcoming performances by Everclear, Lit and Smash Mouth.
“When we [book talent], we think, ‘When the artist sings the chorus, how many people will know the song?’” Sagan says. “These are all groups that, at one point in time, had three or four huge hits.
“Everybody can sing the chorus to every song.”
At Flamingo Las Vegas, gopoolvegas.com
DAY BEATS (Saturdays)
Ying Yang Twins | July 15
Yazz the Greatest | July 29
Montell Jordan | August 5
Bebe Rexha | September 9
NIGHT JAMS (Sundays)
Everclear | July 16
Lit with Alien Ant Farm | August 6
Smash Mouth | August 27