Say Word! Our favorite Music Festival is heading to the sea? See below to read what the NY Times is reporting:
Coachella, the music festival in the Southern California desert that has transformed the American concert industry over the last decade, is going out to sea.
Reflecting a growing trend of youth-focused music cruises, Coachella will introduce the S.S. Coachella in December, with two trips through the Caribbean featuring Pulp, Hot Chip, Girl Talk, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and about 15 other acts.
Once known more for show tunes and B-list performers, cruise ships now attract a range of pop acts, from big stars like Kid Rock, Weezer and John Mayer to niche lineups geared to fans of singer-songwriters, indie rock and electronic dance music, or E.D.M.
Goldenvoice, the Los Angeles concert promoter behind Coachella, resisted jumping on the bandwagon until it found what Paul Tollett, its president, described as the perfect vessel: the Celebrity Silhouette, a 1,000-foot, 122,000-ton ship with room for 2,800 fans, cabana-style alcoves and a small theater that Mr. Tollett called a “mini-Royal Albert Hall.”
“It even has a half-acre of grass,” he added. “It wouldn’t be Coachella without grass.”
Both voyages leave from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a three-day tour going to the Bahamas on Dec. 16 and a four-day journey to Jamaica starting on Dec. 19. For fans willing to pile four to a cabin — the closest thing to camping when it comes to high-seas travel — prices start at $500 a personand there are nine other price levels, going up to $9,000 a person for a “sky suite” with veranda.
Prices include lodging, food and entertainment, but not transportation to Florida or bar tabs.
When Coachella started in 1999, large-scale pop festivals were a rarity in the United States. But the festival’s omnibus booking policy and mellow environment — art installations, chill-out tents — have been widely imitated; festivals now dot the country and are often the points around which major bands route their summer tours.
Coachella has been one of the most innovative and popular summer festivals. This year it expanded to two weekends with identical lineups, and according to Billboard, it sold a combined 158,000 tickets worth $47.3 million. Goldenvoice, the promoter, is a subsidiary of A.E.G. Live.
In setting out to sea Coachella is following a trend that has been gaining steam for years. In business terms it is seen as beneficial for both the music and travel businesses. Cruise line operators bring in a young clientele, and for promoters and artists, the trips can be lucrative opportunities during the industry’s usual winter doldrums.
“Like fairs, the cruise business is broadening its demographics to reflect the changing audience,” Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, a concert industry trade magazine, wrote in an e-mail. “Not much demand for Glenn Miller Band cruises anymore, but jam bands, E.D.M., country and hard rock all have audiences that could be persuaded to try something new (for them) like a cruise, making it a win for all.”
Broadway has also been making waves in this world. Disney uses New York theater talent on some of its cruises, and last month performers from a production of “Hairspray,” onboard the Royal Caribbean line, had a number on the Tony Awards.
Aboard the S.S. Coachella fans have their choice of various restaurants and activities rooms in addition to the concerts, and run-ins with the stars will be inevitable. In some cases those encounters will be planned, like a wine tasting with Mr. Murphy.
And on a floating island, of course, the late-night revels can continue without fans worrying about a midnight drive through the desert to their hotel rooms, and the artists (or the promoter) won’t have to think about that perennial festival nuisance, getting shut down by local authorities.
“Some sets will be longer than usual,” Mr. Tollett said. “We don’t have a curfew.”
We love this idea. How many of you would go?