10 Reasons why ShipRocked is better than a traditional rock festival.
#1 – Because Cory Glover said so.
Corey Glover, the huge voice of the band Living Colour made a great point during our conversation on the ship. “At a festival I might be playing on stage A and you’re on stage B and we might be in different areas backstage, and never get to hear each other. And you can’t really see, but here it’s more than a couple of days so you can actually see someone more than once.” I whole heartedly agreed when he just spit out his conclusion “ShipRocked is better than a festival… Much better.”
#2 – Theme Nights.
Because of themes like There Wearing Our Song, Heroes and Villains and Let Them Eat Cake, the fans get to be part of the fun. I certainly enjoyed running into The Bee Girl strolling on Deck 5, Some Victorians enjoying The Messenger Birds concert and I can only imagine that the musicians themselves get a kick out of seeing The Hulk in the crowd.
#3 – Beaches and destinations.
Sure you can have a normal festival near a beach, but ShipRocked puts you ON a beach, or three. A private beach (Half Moon Cay) in The Bahamas, Grand Turk and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic this time around. Hell, I even did a couple of interviews with Bones UK and Giovannie & The Hired Guns while surrounded by “The bluest ocean I ever did see, the whitest sand I ever did see” as Roise Bones of Bones UK described it before adding “I’ve got a margarita, I’m surrounded by rockers and I’m very happy.”
#4 – The Stowaways.
I have a few dozen examples but to save time, I’ll just use this one, fun moment. Take the amazing Andy Wood and his band as the core, then add the equally amazing Bumblefoot on guitar and the combo of Chad Nicefield (Wilson) and Lacey Strum (Flyleaf) on vocals covering “Epic” from Faith No More”. That is what The Stowaways are all about. Musicians from various bands and backgrounds mixed and matched in a variety of ways. It has become a cornerstone of the annual cruise.
#5 – The Music Experience.
You can actually find The Music Experience at some traditional festivals, as Squiggy and the folks at American Musical Supply offer a musical petting zoo of instruments at lots of cool events. Yet, because the bands, the fans and even those of us working on the cruise don’t have to be anywhere before or after select shows, The Music Experience becomes a place to just stop by and talk, hang…or play.
#6 – The Artists don’t have to leave.
I just touched on this but, because they literally can’t go anywhere else, you run into the folks you would normally only see on stage at the bar, in the casino, in the elevators, hanging by the pool and yes, even out on the beach. I personally crossed paths with about half of the bands and artists this year at all of those locations…and few more like standing in line in front of Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) to buy a souvenir.
7 – Unusual Activities.
ShipRocked is the only music excursion I’ve ever been to that includes game show style activities with the bands. This year you could see Nothing More take on Wage War in a Family Feud style game called Band Feud or perhaps The Newlyband Game with Afterlife and Dropout Kings going head-to-head.
#8 – Culinary lesion from Bumblefoot.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is among the most fascinating humans I’ve been lucky enough to establish a relationship with. In addition to being a ridiculous guitarist he is a songwriter, producer and a maker of hot sauces, including the newly minted Skully Sauce. What other festival has their own hot sauce?
#9 – Mascot.
For that matter what other festival has a mascot. Skully has evolved from a very pliable logo to an actual, 7 foot-ish tall mascot. For this cruise he took on the persona of Supreme Leader Skully.
#10 – The Shiprocked Family.
It is a large chunk of humanity ranging in age from children to geezers. It is a mix of ladies and fellas of all types and backgrounds who share a few traits, including loyalty to the experience, a fierce passion for live music and the community spirit that among other things raises tens of thousands of dollars every year for the Cancer Sucks Charity.
Festivals are fun, and I recommend them. But Shiprocked is an epic musical adventure at sea, or as Corey Glover pointed out “It’s better than a festival… Much better.”