Music Festivals on the High Seas

sea festivals

Not content with being restricted to a muddy field in England or a beach in Croatia, music festivals have started branching out onto the seas with cruise liners playing host to increasing numbers of festivals every year. Here we take a look at five of the best music festivals at sea.

Simple Man Cruise

The official cruise of Deep South USA rock giants, Lynyrd Skynyrd, is perhaps the most famous musical even on the high seas having recently completed its 8th annual cruise. Simple Man gives Skynyrd fans the chance to enjoy the 18 minute (estimation) guitar solo at the end of Freebird whilst sailing through the Bahamas.

The cruise stops off at the private island retreat of Great Stirrup Bay, giving music fans the chance to enjoy the long stretches of white sand and azure waters.

Weezer Cruise

Everyone’s favourite mid-90s nerd rock band may have released a couple of dodgy albums in the past 10 years but tickets for the Weezer cruise continue to sell out rapidly. Classically bonkers frontman Rivers Cuomo developed the idea during a stage in the band’s career where they just wanted to have fun (other ventures included inviting all fans to bring instruments to Weezer gigs to play along).

The first Weezer cruise took place in 2012 and subsequent cruises have played host to shows from the band as well as support from bands including Ash, The Cribs, Ozma and Cat Power amongst others. Other events during the cruise include readings, movies and shuffleboard with drummer Pat Wilson.

It’s the Ship

Setting sail from Singapore and travelling to Australia, It’s the Ship is the largest cruise music festival on the seas. The 2014 event has just ended and was headlines by international acts including Basement Jaxx, Chvrches, Lil Jon and more.

The 2014 edition was hosted by the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Voyager of the Seas which has been recently refurbished. Rapper Lil Jon hosted a beach party on the tropical island of rapper Lil Jon during one of the cruise’s stops.

If you can’t wait for 2015’s It’s the Ship festival, Royal Caribbean partner Cruise1st UK are currently selling cabins aboard the Voyager of the Seas.

SS Coachella

Named after the world famous Coachella music festival in the valleys of California, the SS Coachella takes the event to seas. Setting sail through the Bahamas and Jamaica in the week before Christmas, the festival is headlined by Sheffield alternative rock band, Pulp, with support from Hot Chip, Girl Talk and Sleigh Bells.

The cruise festival even benefits from Sleigh Bells vocalist offering nail art tutorials.

It’s the Ship

Bringing in the New Year, the Holy Ship! festival derives its name from an expletive-based pun rather than any religious divinity. Sailing around the Bahamas on the MSC Divina, the festival is headlined by Fatboy Slim, Skrillex, Boys Noize, Basement Jake and Annie Man amongst others.  With sailings in both January and February, these large-scale dance cruises set sail from Miami before taking in the beautiful beach destinations of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.


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