Rock festivals have become all the rage in the U.S. and hands down the best of them all is the annual ShipRocked cruise. This year marked the 10th anniversary for ShipRocked and the 7th with the Chop Shop as a media partner. Without exception the voyage has become the annual musical highlight of the season for myself and the thousands of fans who are affectionately known as ShipRockers.
But why? Is it the ship? The sunshine? The destinations perhaps? After returning to land, I found myself asking those questions. The conclusion I arrived at is pretty simple. Certainly all of those things play a role, I believe the real magic is twofold. First the way the community comes together while somewhat removed from the real world creates a feeling of togetherness in our otherwise hopelessly divided culture. Secondly, and this is why I always look forward to the ship. Before and after each band's performances, the musicians don’t have any place they have to get to, so they hang.
Indulging in a Sci-Fi conversation with Mark Tremonti while eating an ice cream cone, answering a query from Dave Ellefson of Megadeth as to “where did you get that grilled cheese sandwich”, bro hugs with the guys from I Prevail in the elevator, knowing nods with members of King’s X and Anthrax while sipping the morning coffee and learning that some of the guys in Wilson can swirl a hula hoop far better that I.
Those daily moments in which we get to connect with the musicians who have provided the soundtracks to our lives intensify the whole experience. It makes their live shows seem more personal, it makes the sun feel a little brighter and it even makes the ice cream taste a little bit better as well. - Steve Black