“An act of God” is quite possibly an event producer’s worst nightmare, and with just a few days until embarking onto Groove Cruise (San Diego to Cabo), Jason Beukema (CEO/Founder) and his Groove Cruise Whet Travel team were left with the rattling decision of heading to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and facing the possibility of having the epicenter of hurricane Sergio be the surprise headliner of the 30th sailing festival.
With multiple plans in place to pick from the team was led to plan ‘C’, leaving them with a logistical nightmare challenge re-coordinating lineups with artist managers, flight agents, a land party and on board activities – which they successfully readapted – keeping the plan completely on schedule except for 2 artists – a true feat itself. Whether they knew it or not, Groove Cruise San Diego to Cabo attendees had already surpassed the possibility of a canceled event as they boarded the ship and were on their way to an experience beyond their wildest dreams.
As a complete 21+ event where there are no VIP areas and the male/female attendance ratio is 50/50 full of strong out going couples and fun singles, Groove Cruise is not only the biggest cruise ship music festival brand in the world, it’s also a “land” of no inhibitions offering plenty of opportunities to join in the fun through the daily themed activities. With all the freedom to frolic amongst fellow #GCFam dance music lovers any time at one of the 24 hour music dance floors, you could dance it up pool side, ocean side, in the casino, or even catch a bite with one of your favorite artists roaming the ship at all times giving you plenty of opportunities for some solid artist / fan interactions.
Speaking of artist interactions – the bookings were out of control! Offering an extremely well rounded line up and artist programming, Groove Cruise was able to take you down the rabbit hole of genres spanning from house and tech house to trance, disco, hip hop, electro, future house and everything in between. My personal favorite sets included Ohfiya’s fire poolside set, Goshfather’s energy filled disco-influenced sets at the casino and atrium, Cazztek dropping bass bombs on the deck, Scooter’s annual Hip-hop take over that only he can dominate, the Incorrect take over featuring Anthony Attalla’s extended 6 hour set, Mikey Lion representing for Desert Hearts on the pool and the highlight set of the trip featuring plenty of classic and new hits: Green Velvet’s closing pool set!
If dancing to your favorite artists all over the ship isn’t enough for you, Groove Cruisers are also offered the chance to join in on the fun participating in one of the many on board activities. From challenging MK to a Madden dual at the arcade to getting karate lessons from Laidback Luke or playing Ping Pong versus Shiba San on the pool deck, there were truly unique experiences you’d never get a chance to live at a ‘regular’ event.
At the silent disco’s “back 2 back” setup you were given the chance to pick your own channel depending on which artist you wanted to hear, and it even came with a twist since you could join in on the fun at the bowling tournament hosted by Pro Bowler Danaka Heekin where I had the privilege to do a surprise DJ IDeaL set at. After which I had some more fun running around the party with viral sensation “Sriracha Man” – and even got challenged to a Sriracha drink off!
With so much energy vibrating through out the ship, sometimes a get a way to a more relaxing place hits the spot. Such was the happs at the relaxation with ambient tunes on day & night and a plethora of activities including Theta Chambers with the ability to transform your energy for healing and relaxation plus a meditation and lounge area hosted by the Goddess 101 group welcoming you to let in your inner god & goddess.
One of the most amazing parts of the Groove Cruise excursion has always been the Whet Travel donation delivery experience where we drop off a variety of donations to underprivileged kids, typically at orphanages. Due to the last minute change, the Whet Travel & Kid Wiseman teams worked around the clock to find a workable situation as the universe unfolded the best outcome. Fortunately, we were able to connect with an art school that fit perfectly with the live art activity Kid Wiseman had prepared for the kids, making it a huge success expanding the knowledge of street art!
Topping off all the wonderful experiences, was the most unexpected one of them all. After dancing, screaming, hugging and vibing with all cruisers that closed out the event with Green Velvet, I had the opportunity of sharing breakfast with Jason Beukema & another fellow Groove Cruiser. Getting to hear some stories that I swore to never share, I can tell you that I gained a new level of appreciation for this ‘festival of the seas’ event producer. Having grown this event from 125 close friends to 12,000 annual attendees, his ability to bring dance music lovers together while providing a setting to lose any inhibitions they live with daily for an out of this world experience, not comparable to any other type of event, continues to fuel his passion.
‘Sometimes we need to experience the extreme or tragedy to appreciate it. Love is what keeps us together and in flow” – Mr Rogers
That line resonated with me as I took a break from the insanity in my cabin and caught the Mr. Rogers documentary. Serendipitous because it depicts Groove Cruise exactly as I’ve seen it since my first, with plans to make Miami ‘19 my next one! Mark your calendars as Groove Cruise celebrates their 15thanniversary with a stellar lineup featuring Kaskade, Hot Since ’82, Markus Schulz and many many more! Grab your tickets now!
See you on the floating dance floor!
- Tomas Serrano aka DJ IDeaL