Groove Cruise X: Four Days on a Floating Festival
Groove Cruise X: Four Days on a Floating Festival
The original dance music escape brand, Groove Cruise, has been providing tastefully-curated house-focused experiences for legions of its dedicated followers for ten years straight. In contrast to Holy Ship!’s EDM brand of high seas debauchery, GC is a veteran dance fan’s delight — one that provides its thrills without standardized “rave” outfits and waves of neon. This year’s lineup was a literal who’s who of top tier talent both old and new, delivering tastes from all manner of the dance music spectrum with performances from Cosmic Gate, Markus Schulz, Adrian Lux, Michael Woods and more.
Setting sail out of the Port of Miami on course for the pristine beaches of Cozumel, Mexico, the Groove Cruise’s tenth anniversary outing kicked off with a bang. The sold-out crowd swamped the decks and dancefloors of the massive cruise ship, all ready to shed the winter weather and head out into the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean sea. Day 1’s soundtrack was distinctly diverse, providing entertainment for the multitude of dance music faithfuls aboard its tenth anniversary voyage.
Day One, Cont.
The Sail Away Pool Party saw the likes of New York native and house talent, DBerrie, followed by the trance stylings of Rebecca & Fiona, who provided the perfect wrap up to a day’s worth of anticipation. Resident Miami DJ and former basketball star, Rony Seikaly, made a statement at the cruise’s welcoming pool party, but it wasn’t until Cosmic Gate took the decks at the Bon Voyage stage that the first day reached its pinnacle. A trance-focused and club-friendly set from the German duo served up the day’s most energetic moments and left the crowd reeling after their first day on the high seas. For those whose excitement trumped their need for sleep, Stacey Pullen’s after hours performance provided the night owls and early birds a hazy and sensual late night dance party that wrapped up just as the sun began to rise.
After setting sail for the pristine beaches of Mexico, fans found themselves faced with an expansive spread of equally impressive talent. Special guest performances from Funkagenda alongside Gareth Emery, tasteful progressive outputs from EDX and a tech house takeover from Boris defined Friday’s jaunt out into the deep seas.
Day Two, Cont.
Those up early and eager to dance made their way over to the pool for Get Wet In Stereo, where they likely found it difficult to escape the dance floor once Chus + Ceballos and Boris combined for a two-set, six-hour experience that truly put the groove in Groove Cruise. By the time the tech house stronghold let loose, it was 10pm and the line between starting and continuing to party had been completely blurred. Luckily, tired feet had an Old School Hip-Hop party to explore. But for party-goers who were in it for the long-haul, Garuda’s showcase was the place to be. Ben Gold and Funkagenda provided well-balanced vibes for the start of the dark night, and the stage came to eruption when label head Gareth Emery himself took the decks for a two-hour outing primed for 1, 2, and 3AM. By 7AM, Marco Bailey was an hour into his set that would last through sunrise, and it was nearly impossible to distinguish between those who were ending their night and those who were just beginning their day. By the looks of the Superheros & Vixens theme, it had still been day 2… but who was really keeping track of time?
Arriving at Cozumel early on the cruise’s third official day, the music kicked it up a notch, ditching much of the mellow grooves for some tasteful club cuts from Sultan & Ned Shepard and John Dahlback. The most electro-minded day of the cruise, Deniz Koyu, Firebeatz and Brass Knuckles ramped up the energy before handing over the after hours duties to Anthony Attala, a man who has an impeccable ear for crafting flawless late night club sessions.
Day Three, Cont.
Insomnia was running high, but that was a good thing. Day 3 was well underway, and tangibly more so as an extension of night 2. The sunny, early afternoon brought the most memorable moments: If you had been exhausted or hungover, Sultan + Ned Shepard left you with no choice but to wake up at 1pm when they swung through a full-throttle set mercifully at Playa Mia Beach Club before John Dahlback took the baton. The mid-afternoon pool party led by the likes of Firebeatz and Tritonal served ironically as relaxing and recharging hours, although the music would imply anything but calming vibes. Ready or not, all eyes, ears, and feet were on Stardust Theatre by midnight where Deniz Koyu brought his in-your-face signature sound and boasted his newest release of “Ruby,” and Cedric Gervais became the night’s MVP by 3AM as the cruise welcomed one of dance music’s newest Grammy winners. For the record, the reception from “Summertime Sadness” was greater than ever after being named Best Remixed Recording. dBerrie closed the stage out proper, treating his crowd to an unrelenting set that would make it tough to withstand Incorrect Afterhours. Unconcerned, Anthony Attalla, Marco Lys, and Cocodrills still commanded a rocking floor all night until 11am. What day was it again?
The final day of the 10-year anniversary, the cruise and its companions pulled out all the stops, flooding the decks and the dancefloors for Markus Schulz’s marathon closing set along with melodic progressive duties from Adrian Lux and Feenixpawl. Perhaps the weekend’s most gripping moment came at the hands of the Ville Virtanen, the DJ better known as Darude, who rode the final day into the sunset with a set designed to appeal to the Cruise’s more mature attendee — there is nothing quite like hearing one of the most iconic dance music songs of all time as performed by the man who brought it to life.
Day Four, Cont.
Super Bowl Sunday? Who would’ve known. By noon, Pierce Fulton had the cruise-goers electrified at the pool, Hook N Sling took the reigns and upped the ante, and Michael Woods made the peak sun hours as chaotic as the ship had seen. Broncos, Seahawks, and all NFL jerseys flooded the ship as the biggest game in sports approached, and that’s about as much as Groove Cruise goers would have in common with the rest of the world on the night of the Super Bowl. If you wanted to watch the game, Adrian Lux and Feenixpawl gave you two reasons to skip the first half to stick by the pool. By halftime, bodies were bopping through the parties within the party, stopping into the official Super Bowl event to catch a moment or two of the football season’s last game, playing hands at the casino, or gravitating back to Sultan, Ned, and Koyu. The Seahawks might have won the Super Bowl, but on Groove Cruise, Markus Schulz was that night’s champion. After a six hour set that lasted through 5AM, the Schulz deserved a Gatorade Shower. The potential new nickname as The Pete Carroll Of Trance doesn’t roll off the tongue too well, so he’ll probably stick to Unicorn Slayer.
Until Next Year…
You know the Groove Cruise ended well when 2000+ attendees walked off the boat looking like a bunch of zombies from The Walking Dead. The memories, the music, and most importantly the friends that were created on the Groove Cruise were the biggest takeaways from one of the best weekends of all of our lives. Hope everyone has recuperated and see you in October, when the Groove Cruise sets sail from sunny Los Angeles!