River Retreat

Show Review: Splice Records’ River Retreat 2022

Show Reviews

Splice Records’ River Retreat

Blue and green Christmas lights dance along the archway that guides campers to the main stage. The River Retreat is one of several events Splice Records holds throughout the year at the KL Ranch Campground, a beautiful stretch of land in New Braunfels that sits along the Guadalupe River.
Each day is separated into themes that take attendees back through the decades, all leading up to “Prom Night.” I park above the main campground on the road to Zen City, where sing-a-longs by the campfire last until dawn, and follow the voice of Rio Bingo and the Blue Heron Yacht Club.

River Retreat

Blue Heron Yacht Club. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

Opening night focuses on the 1950s and 1960s with Brian Scartocci, who brings back the sounds of Sam Cooke as he glides across the stage. A light show swirls around on a giant cliff across the river as a man juggles with Devil sticks at the edge of the crowd. Scartocci leaves in a “Blaze of Glory” as rainbow windsocks wave into the sky.

River Retreat

Brian Scartocci performs at the River Retreat. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

Flower Graves brings the sounds of 1960s psychedelic rock. Mikey leads the band as he waves around his Fender Mustang, bashing the back of the neck to push out a wall of feedback and vibration. The organist, lead guitar player and drummer are all very gifted at making their approach to the song sound unique to their voice. Campers bring costumes for each night, which helps the crowd let go and escape the city life for a relaxing weekend.


Flower Graves

Flower Graves. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

Tomar and the FC’s lit the place on fire, performing classic hits from Wilson Pickett and the Isley Brothers. Tomar tells the audience he was “far too young” when he first heard “Shout” while watching Animal House.


Tomar and the FC’s. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

His interaction with the crowd is what makes his show so special. The “First Lady of Splice Records” gave a spirited version of “I Would Rather Go Blind” by Etta James as the horn section drove the crowd home.

River Retreat

The First Lady of Splice Records. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

My breath turns to frost in the pitch black air as opening night comes to a close. The family style atmosphere, quality on-site meals from Little Kitchen HTX, sound and lighting production, excellent music and peaceful river vibes all come together to create a certain magic that will be around for years to come.


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