Since 2010, I’ve been addicted to dance music. From my first night really experiencing electronic music at a live venue (Club Space in 2010), I’ve been hooked. In the last decade I’ve made my way around the United States attending every type of festival imaginable. From small and intimate shows, to mass gatherings like EDC Las Vegas and everything in between.
Going into any new music festival experience always fills me with wonder. The hope that it will be amazing, the expectation that it will be worth the time and investment and the thrill that this could potentially be the best one yet.
When you take the entire culture and experience and encase the experience on a ship – everything changes. The camaraderie, the friendships, the amenities, the food and the access is unmatched by any other music festival experience I’ve ever encountered. Let me say definitively, The Friendship executed on every imaginable level.
From your first moments on the FriendShip, I was taken back by how friendly and kind everyone was. The ship, the staff, the environment, the attention to detail, the food, the stages, the island parties, the sound quality, the production, the lights, the artists. Every single element was curated, accounted for and taken care of with love. You felt appreciated, loved, and ready for the best experience of your life.
I’m forever changed by how great this festival was and its great contrast from a traditional, on-land music festival. It was unique, worth every penny and for me – it is a can’t miss experience.
Curated and produced by Gary Richards (aka producer & DJ DESTRUCTO, AMFAMFAMF event founder and President of LiveStyle North America), this world-class music cruise experience FriendShip 2020 completed its journey this past January 6-10. Over 50 artists including DJs and producers, hitmakers and vocalists in electronic music, along with comedians, magicians and burlesque performers entertained 3000+ cruisers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas for an unforgettable roundtrip voyage from Miami to the Bahamas.
Though we reached some inclement weather that halted our ability for a 2nd beach day party, the party went off without skipping a beat. The beach was incredible while we were there, but the staff did an incredible job restructuring the lineup to account for the change in weather. Again, flawless execution.
As we boarded the boat, cruisers were personally welcomed with a glass of champagne by DESTRUCTO. Over the three-day/four-night sailing, shippers were treated to a wide array of musical performances and activities for an experience of a lifetime. Each musical act performed two shows or more giving fans an opportunity not to miss their favorite music. I caught my favorite acts multiple times, in multiple areas at different times of the day. This not only allowed you to experience the performance differently, but will different people and in different proximity to your cabin.
Highlights included the main deck sail away set from TroyBoi, sets from GRAMMY-nominee Boys Noize as well as his ELAX alter-ego, the mobile heavy hitter b2b that came out of Mija’s set with Nina Las Vegas x Madame X x Flava D x Star Eyes x Uniiqu3, hip-hop sets with legendary hitmaker Dallas Austin and Wax Motif during the Rump Shaker party and DESTRUCTO’s dawn at sea party set The Sermon with GRiZ, Boys Noize, Bob Moses’ Jimmy Valance and Danny Daze, among others.
Theme nights ‘Area 51,’ ‘Animal Spirit’ and ‘Tropical Xmas’ inspired incredible costuming among fans and talent alike. Beyond the music, onboard activities ran the gamut of fun from comedy shows with Sean Patton, Ali Macofsky & Nery Seans and magic with Robert Gould to a twerk workshop with DESTRUCTO’s dancers the Twerkaholicz, tiny hat making, yoga on the ship’s helipad and a talent show. Burlesque icon Dita Von Teese and friends Tosca, Zelia Rose, Dirty Martini and Lazlo Major titillated audiences topping entertainment aboard.
FRIENDSHIP docked for a perfect day at Coco Cay where the party went landside with swim-up bar poolside sets from Billy Kenny, Green Lantern & Apache Indian, and Gerry Gonza and on the beach with TroyBoi and Bob Moses, closing out with DESTRUCTO and Friends. This was one of my favorite moments from the ship.
TroyBoi, a cocktail, the Atlantic Ocean and toes in the sand while island bass smashed through the ocean breeze. Can’t beat it.
A hit among fans was the ship’s unique Dial-A-DJ program where select shippers were given a phone number to order a DJ to their room landing acts like GRiZ, DESTRUCTO and Bob Moses, Boogie T., Malaa, Uniiqu3 and Ase Manuel, Ducky, Gerry Gonza, Eprom and even Dita Von Teese doing private cabin parties.
I personally attended three Dial-A-DJ experiences hidden in private rooms around the ship. 30 people packed into a cabin getting absolutely blasted with tunes by a full setup and a DJ to ourselves. Unreal experience that really made Frienship extra special.
The inaugural FRIENDSHIP took place late 2018 aboard the glamorous Celebrity Equinox and sailed from Miami to two private island beach parties in CocoCay, Bahamas. The four-day/four-night electronic music cruise was attended by 3000 revelers and sold out in less than 24 hours. It featured live performances and DJ sets from some of the best and most-popular international music acts, including Rüfüs Du Sol, Boys Noize, Dixon, 2manydjs, Claptone and many more.
In summary, this a music festival I will never miss again. Absolutely top shelf. Every detail. Every moment. Every meal. Every sound. Every interaction with staff and most of all, all the memories with happy people, all day, everyday. Absolutely elated by this experience and I can not recommend it enough.
Look for FRIENDSHIP to return aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas and to Coco Cay January 11-15, 2021. Further details to be announced soon…