The concept of a "festival season" is a foreign one in Miami. The perpetual summertime climate gives event organizers the opportunity to throw massive outdoor, multi-stage events with little regard for whichever month it may be. I have hardly had enough time to get used to marking the date with the correct year and it's already festival time.
That's right, disembarking from the Port of Miami this afternoon is the 12th edition of the original music festival-cruise hybrid: Groove Cruise, Miami. The revolutionary concept has grown in popularity each year since a hundred humble house heads first hit the seas in 2004. The unique event expanded to LA in 2012, and has inspired several other cruise-ship-massives in its run.
In a truly inspiring raver-to-riches story, a group of dance music fanatics were partying on a cruise when the concept smacked them in the face and they have been curating the event ever since. Over the years, the team made sure that they always kept their priorities in order with the music rightfully holding the number one spot; It is a MUSIC festival after all, although unfortunately, some crews seem to forget which word comes first these days.
Perhaps their path from partiers to promoters is what makes it all work. It is apparent that they cater to their own taste rather than conform to what pop-culture dubs in vogue, and it is that approach that yields such unique results. Once the context is established, it is so easy to see how the eclectic lineup is stamped with their personality: They are dance music aficionados from the rave generation that matured with the scene and actively took part in its resurgence. So each year, when they put together another one of their fantasy line-ups, they combine old-school and new in a way that only they can.
Seriously, where else will you see Bee's Knees billed with Chus & Ceballos and Darude? And more importantly, who else could pull that off? We will have a correspondent on board this year to let you know how it all comes together. Looking at the lineup, I already know that most of my time would be spent enjoying artists like Roger Sanchez, Sydney Blue, and Stefano Noferini -- who put together a playlist for us to get a taste of what's in store -- but I would also have to see what Dada Life has been up to lately, as well as take part in their attempt to get in the Guiness Book of World Records with the biggest pillow fight ever.
Yes, this sold-out trip to beautiful Jamaica is surely going to be incredible. However, it will be all for naught if the man, nay, the legend, doesn't drop the track so universally renowned that: it is the unofficial pre-kickoff song for a College Football team in the deep South, some dude went viral for playing it on a recorder, and YouTube even trolled you with it.
"Wait... Does he mean 'Darude - Sandstorm'?"
Why, yes. Yes I do.