Alright party people, this one’s for you.
Two Wednesdays ago, I set sail out of Miami for the 11th anniversary of a floating, 96-hour non-stop
dance music festival cultural experience called Groove Cruise, and where EDC, Coachella, years of WMC and hundreds of local dance events before held loving memories, my idea of “music festival” has forever been transformed. (Forget my idea of cruises.)
It starts with an energy and excitement that seeps through your screen in an Attendees-Only Facebook group leading up to the actual event with packing pics, hotel and ride share plans, pre-party invites and pages of tips for first-time GC “Virgins” from “Veterans” around the world, following through to every flowing side smirk and bonding glimpse of affirmation that yes, this is actually happening, right now, from everyone surrounding you all the way to the very last, very blurry, sunrise set back into port during that 95th hour of insanity and on into a piece of lifetime memoria you’ll never
Groove Cruise blew EDC, Coachella and any other former idea of “music festival” I had out of the water. Here’s why:
Starting with the simple things, Groove Cruise is 21+. And while that’s already a perk over commercial events like EDC and Coachella, the average age on board is 32. This isn’t anyone’s first rodeo — which makes it that much more enjoyable for all.
2 – Zero Responsibility
Keeping with things NOT on board — you know that forced conversation you usually have to start the night with about who’s going to drive everyone home at the end of it all? Remember the keys? Find the car? Navigate festival traffic, find a pedicab or finally spring for the helicopter this year? Eliminated. With the ship as your fairgrounds, no one in your group has to think twice about completely losing their minds on the dance floor. (Oh, and there’s no cell phone service either.) With all responsibilities off, the real games begin.
3 – 96 Hours of Non-Stop Music
#TEAMNOSLEEP? This is the homecoming. Groove Cruise’s 96-hour non-stop set list just keeps on keepin’ on, with major names including Markus Schulz, Erick Morillo, Oliver Heldens, Thomas Gold, Darude, Ferry Corsten, ATB and more shining at peak hours, deep house around every corner and Incorrect music label making magic with Cocodrills and Chus + Ceballos after hours leading into every sunrise.
Whether your festival self is all about jumping center stage to beats you could recreate from silence or paying close attention for sick new debuts (Drums of the Sun) to bring back home, the Groove Cruise lineup will keep you moving right past those notions that you need that thing people onshore call sleep.
4 – Party with Your Favorite DJ’s
You know where the DJ’s are posted up between sets at music festivals? Backstage. You know where the DJ’s are posted up between sets on Groove Cruise? On the boat. With you. Because they’re about to get down just like you are — there’s nowhere else they can go! And in case you don’t like to leave those meetings to chance, there are scheduled events like “How to DJ 101”, hosted this go-around by Darude and Scooter in a small theater, just dangling your next instagram post waiting to be snapped.
5 – Unlimited Gourmet Food + 24-Hour Room Service
Music’s 24 hours, everyone on board’s on board, partying alongside your favorite artists, and… just in case you should want anything else handed to you on a silver platter, there’s an unlimited gourmet dining hall and personal concierge standing by at your cabin to handle that for you. (What is this wonderland?) Morning coffee delivery, midnight snack shenanigans, 4am dance floor relocation into the actual dining area and made-to-order omelets just a few hours later, all bases covered.
6- Theme Days
To really reassure the “we’re all in this together” mentality this ridiculous setup creates, official theme days + costumery put a seal on the group debauchery. And the #GCfam goes all out. From strict daily theme-followers — mermaids, 80’s kids, inflated sumo wrestlers + ostrich-riders — to one-liner bro tank and little more than pasty-wearers, the costume game on deck is world-class. Simply walking around the ship is a festival for your eyes.
7- Your Set Change… is to a Private Island
Set change? How about let’s just take this little frenzy to a private Bahamian island and blast our music over there instead? Sound good? Great. If you can stand to separate from the stage, you and your festie fam can jet ski, snorkel or parasail past the party, but I’d bet you’ll have a better time sticking close to the sand, water and on-island bar with the other 2,399 of your new best friends.
What could be better than dancing until dawn under the Electric Sky? Dancing with your feet in the sand, soaking up the sunshine then partying on a tug boat back to the main ship and dancing right past dawn to those dark + dirty after hours Incorrect made their name from up on the pool deck — that’s what.
Saving the best for close to last…. putting the #GCfam in words is harder than anything else.
Not just anyone will make the time, financial and inevitable recovery commitment required for a 96-hour rave cruise, most involving travel, so before you even get on deck you know you’re about to be surrounded by party professionals.
Fast forward to those moments questioning reality behind sunglasses anytime past day 1, witnessing a couple get engaged with the help of New World Punx duo on the sand, raging extra hard to Thomas Gold in thanks for battling 8 foot waves in a speedboat to make it on deck, counting the hours of sleep you’ve had combined on one hand and giving no more than a nod to that stranger who pulled you up into the Haven foam party and before you know it you’re trying to work out exactly where and when you’re going to see all these people again (no really… we should do this more often).
Airline lost your luggage? #GCfam will both tell you where to find replacements nearby and offer you costumes from their own bags — I witnessed it. iPhone disappeared on deck? More likely than not waiting for you at guest service. Need water? Take a quick glance around and you’ll be covered. Another round? Even easier.
Coming from a Groove Cruise Virgin who embarked on this adventure pretty last minute and solo… the #GCfam love is so real.
9- Whet Travel
Can’t leave this one out — the fam behind the #GCfam, Whet Travel. The brainchild of Jason Beukema — loved and hated for daily “Gooooood Mooooorning Groove Cruisers!” wake-up call and itinerary readings delivered directly to the intercom of your stateroom — Whet Travel staff is always available onboard, provides water throughout the event and takes into consideration each and every response to a post-cruise survey to see what changes YOU want to see in place for next year. This is a home-grown initiative, and Whet Travel gives every bit of thanks to the #GCfam community to keep it moving in an even better direction.
Post disembarking, Jason even popped up a little note in the Facebook group to leave a comment of what you lost and he’d get back to you personally if items were found in the (I don’t even want to think about that…) cleanup.
Once you’ve passed through the Groove Cruise Virgin to Veteran threshold, you realize there’s so much more than a “music festival” going on here. This is a culture, and Groove Cruise is just the reunion.
If you’re ready to shatter your ideas of a music festival to smithereens and join the #GCfam, register to hop onboard for upcoming Groove Cruise LA or get in line early for the Groove Cruise Miami 2016 wait list here.
#GCfam — any points I missed?! Is Groove Cruise up your alley?
currently exploring was so excited to be onboard Groove Cruise as a media partner ~ all good vibes are my own!