White Party Palm Springs Festival's founder Jeffrey Sanker passed away on Friday, May 28th. Sanker’s family released the following statement “The family of Jeffrey Sanker would like to extend gratitude to all who have shared kind words and well wishes during this difficult time. We have been deeply touched to see how many lives Jeffrey has impacted over the last four decades. Together, let us keep his memory alive forever.”
Sanker founded the LA-based White Party Entertainment, Inc. and creator of such signature events as White Party Palm Springs Festival and New Year’s Eve celebrations in Los Angeles, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, and Puerto Vallarta. For more than four decades, Jeffrey’s zest for life and love of celebration drove him to create a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and celebrate our unique individuality and collective magic.
Madonna called him “Godfather of Parties,” The Miami Hearld dubbed him “the high priest of gay parties.” Next Magazine described him as “the sultan of soirees.” In 2014 Jeffrey Sanker received a star on the famed “Palm Springs Walk of Stars” aptly placed on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Arenas Road.
Sanker’s passion for parties began during the early eighties in New York City. Working at such legendary locations as Studio 54, Palladium, and Private Eyes, he fine-tuned his skills as a promoter and special event producer. Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Ke$ha, Erika Jayne, Mary J Blige all graced the stage at a Sanker event.
The Jeffrey Sanker White Party Foundation has promised to further his legacy, continue to produce White Party events in Palm Springs and Puerto Vallarta, but has canceled this year's event due to Sanker's passing. Chris Diamond of the White Party Foundation said the event has been rescheduled to April 29 to May 1, 2022. Previously purchased passes for the 2021 event — which was slated to happen this fall (over Halloween weekend) — will be honored for the 2022 dates.
In honor of his contribution to gay nightlife, Out Traveler shares photos from White Parties over the years. This one is from 2012, and pictures Sanker with Mary J. Blige