Groove Cruise Miami: 96 Hours of Atmospheric Bliss

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Alright…so it’s been two weeks since GC Miami, and I’m finally finding the time / energy to write about my experience.  The question is, where do I start…?

To even begin explaining how truly special the 4 days spent onboard the Carnival Victory is near impossible. I sit here mindlessly staring at my computer at a complete loss for words… So before you continue reading it is important you understand that nothing I write nor photo I upload will ever completely capture the magical atmosphere that came to life during Groove Cruise Miami.

So now that you have been adequately warned – I am going to try my absolute best to paint this picture for you and give you an understanding why…

These really were 96 of the best hours of my entire life

However, first things first, I want to give the biggest shout out to EVERYONE who attended Groove Cruise Miami 2017. I think we can unanimously agree that it will live to be an exceptional highlight in all of our lives, and even though I obviously couldn’t get the chance to meet everyone on board…we are all part of one giant family!


If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram for a while, you will most likely know that I was offered the opportunity to pop my Groove Cruise cherry in Cabo back in 2016.  That was an experience I will never forget, and it changed my life in multiple ways.  Not only was it one hell of a party, but I forged some strong connections with some of the most loving, incredible, and inspiring people I’ve ever come across, and I know that it was only the beginning…

Check out my article “11 Reasons Why Groove Cruise Is The Ultimate Festival Vacation“.


When I boarded my flight from Sydney to Miami, I was absolutely exhausted from the past 2.5 months of traveling around Australia.  While my life as a travel-blogger might look amazing on social-media…full-time travel takes a severe toll on your energy levels.  However, it goes without saying that when the opportunity came to hop-on Groove Cruise again, the only possible answer (as the Aussies would say) was “Fuckin Oath! YEAH!”.

I was no longer a Groove cruise virgin, so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into…

I was actually kind of nervous that it wouldn’t live up to my previous experience on Cabo though.  Have you ever had so much fun at one event, that you think that nothing will ever come close, or be able top it…?  Now, trust me when I say that in hindsight I have realized that thought process was severely illogical, because I’ve learned that Groove Cruise just gets better and better every year you go.

GC Miami 2017  exceeded my expectations in every single way, and these are my top highlights:  


1  )  The GC Fam Atmosphere

I remember reading a Facebook post from a GC Veteran explaining the mentality on Groove Cruise, and how (unlike many other events) “there are no “cool kids” or “losers” on this boat… just family.”  I have never heard truer words spoken. This universal sensation offers the perfect atmosphere for everyone to let their guard down, meet new people, and just enjoy the party.

Everyone I met while on GC Miami were nothing but unbelievably friendly, and I honestly never experienced a single negative vibe.  I would walk past people I had never met, and they would just come up, introduce themselves, and give me a hug without hesitation.

While this can be rather standard at music festivals, the connections you make on Groove Cruise surpass normal fleeting “festival friendships”.  This is a rather intimate event with only 2500 attendees, so the people you meet and party with on Day 1, you will inevitably keep running into around the ship.  This is especially true for all you after hours addicts and “We’re Never Going Home” squad – you know who you are!  If you don’t run into GC Miami MVP Bryan Lubliner at least once or twice a day…you’re doing it wrong!


What makes the GC Family so incredibly unique is that it’s a community that has blossomed over the past decade.  There are people who have been attending every year since Whet Travel began, and it really makes this festival stand knots apart from the other parties at sea.


With the average age of Groove Cruise attendees being around 32-33, it’s a much more mature and respectful crowd who embrace the “work hard, play hard” mentality…

“There’s doctors, and lawyers, and business executives”  *Cue Weeds Theme Song*…. and they are all on board for the same reasons: great music, amazing vibe, and to escape the real world for a few days in paradise.   

It’s difficult to explain, but walking around that cruise ship you just feel this energy that is unlike any other place in the world.  You can go ahead and tell our pal Walt I said this because I will shout it from the top of Magic Kingdom if I have to…

F**k Disneyland…Groove Cruise is the happiest place on earth!


2  ) Engagement & a Wedding

Love truly was in the air on the Carnival Victory.    

During Sam Feldt’s set on night 1, my good friend Joe had an important question he was dying to ask his beautiful girlfriend Melissa.  As he grabbed the microphone, got down on one knee, and proposed…the crowd anxiously waited for her reply:

“Yes! Abso-fucking-utely!”

Photo via Adam Hahn

I was stoked to be there to capture the moment they Skyped Melissa’s mother to share the happy news.  <3  If you didn’t get the chance to meet these two, keep an eye out for them on future Groove Cruises!  They are absolutely amazing, and spread nothing but love and good vibes to everyone around them.  I can’t wait to fly to Thailand for their wedding !!


Next — it was 6 A.M, and UMEK had just finished his monster techno set at the AFT Pool Deck.  I was snapping some photos of the sunrise, and someone came up to me and asked if I was going to go the wedding…?

I’ll admit I didn’t even know there was a wedding scheduled — so I quickly scurried over to the other side of the ship, and fortunately had arrived just in time to witness the magic!  It was a beautiful ceremony, of an even more beautiful couple.  Officiated by DJ Mimosa, and with a massive crowd of GC FAM, it was definitely a special moment onboard GC Miami.

  As the sun pushed up over the horizon, the confetti canons went off, and they shared their first kiss as husband & wife.

CONGRATULATIONS PAUL & NIKOL!!


3 ) Every Set at the AFT Pool Deck

While the hard-core trance fans may argue with me over this one, the best music on Groove Cruise was definitely heard at the after-hours parties at the back at the ship on the AFT Pool Deck.

Anthony AttallaLee Foss, Cocodrills, Chus + Ceballos, and Roger Sanchez had me completely in awe.  Real proper underground house and techno blasted from the speakers, and as as the sun slowly began to appear each morning, there were beautiful party people dressed in their elaborate costumes spread out on both levels of the AFT pool deck.

OH…and can I just take a moment to discuss how much of an absolute legend DASH BERLIN is!  One of the best aspects about Groove Cruise is being able to party with the DJ’s, but I never expected Dash to be such a rager, lol.  He was up with the rest of the after-hours animals and was getting after it.

Photo via Veranmiky

When you look ridiculous as fuck, but still need to take a picture with DASH BERLIN


4 )  #TranceFamily in the Theater

While I haven’t listened to too much trance in recent years, the trance line-up on Groove Cruise Miami was undeniably stacked!  With heavyweights like Markus Schulz, Andrew Rayel, Cosmic Gate, Jochen Miller, and of course Dash Berlin all playing sets in the theater, I knew I was going to hear nothing but the best from these trance legends.

As usual, I was completely correct, and every time I wandered into the largest indoor stage, I was pleasantly surprised with some hard-hitting yet emotional music.  I wasn’t a big fan of the set-up of the theatre because there were all these rows that inhibited any sort of dance floor, but the production and sound were truly epic.  THOSE LAZERS!!


5  )  Beautiful People in Crazy Costumes

Last but certainly not least – one of the best parts about attending Groove Cruise is that it is perhaps the most impressive costume party you will ever witness.  There were two different themes every day, and people seriously go above & beyond with their themed attire.  

(Since I flew all the way from Australia, I didn’t really have enough time to properly prepare for all the costumes, but I still did my best at looking festival ready)

IDENTITY

GREEK NIGHT

NEON

OLD SCHOOL RAVER

FLOWER POWER

Photo via Adam Hahn

HIPPIES VS HIPSTERS

Photo via Adam Hahn

BRIDES & CHIPPENDALES

Photo via Veranmiky

CARNIVAL VS. MARDI GRAS

Photo via Adam Hahn


Groove Cruise Miami really was the most insane ending to my recent 3-month adventure, and while it has quite literally taken me weeks to recover (which is why it took me this long to write this article), I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Check out my full Groove Cruise Miami Facebook Album for all of my pictures from the festival!


I swiped my V-card boarding the Groove Cruise Cabo…but Groove Cruise Miami turned me  into a life-long GC devotee. 

SEE YOU GUYS ON THE NEXT ONE!


GROOVE CRUISE L.A

October 6-9, 2017.

Tickets go on sale February 16th, and this event will sell-out!

Follow Groove Cruise:

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THANKS FOR READING!


FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

Lost Paradise: Truly A Hidden Wonderland

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While most tourists and travelers who flock to Sydney over New Years Eve come for the spectacular firework display over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House — I knew that the only place I wanted to welcome in the new year was at Lost Paradise.

This is THE festival I had been dying to attend ever since I started researching the best music festivals in Australia, and now that I’ve experienced it for myself, I’m actually still in awe about how incredible these 3 days were.

This was only the third year that Lost Paradise has been thrown, and it doubled it’s attendance numbers from 5,000 up to 10,000 tickets sold.  When most festivals would struggle with that level of rapid growth, Lost Paradise delivered a perfectly executed music festival experience complete with an amazing crowd, gorgeous venue, and carefully curated line-up.

Besides the overwhelming heat, and the rather long entrance queue into the festival — Lost Paradise was truly “your hidden wonderland”, and the perfect ending to 2016.


Welcome to Glenworth Valley

The entire time when I was walking around Lost Paradise, I kept thinking to myself — this venue could not be more perfect.  The picturesque valley lined with tall trees, the peaceful creeks for daytime swimming, and the large open fields that were easy to navigate were simply ideal.

On the outskirts of the all the campgrounds there were plenty of trees which provided much needed shade for people who didn’t want their tents to feel like saunas in the morning (especially for the camping rookies who didn’t bring a gazebo).


The Lost Disco Stage

For fans of underground house and techno, this stage was popping off all three days!  

The Funktion One sound system was heard loud and clear from all areas, there were four different stands to dance on and enjoy a view of the crowd, and the LED screen / lighting brought everything to that next level!

Whoever designed this stage must be a festival angel, because it really was beautiful…but more importantly had a vibrant cover which gave us protection from the relentless Australian sun.


Arcadia Stage

If you prefer your music with a bit more live-instruments, then you probably spent quite a bit of time here at the Arcadia Stage.  While I myself didn’t listen to many sets here, the stage had plenty of wide-open space, excellent sound, and incredibly talented musicians perform throughout the day and night.


Paradise Club

Nestled on top of a hill in the corner of the festival was this third and final stage of Lost Paradise.

As far as scenery and atmosphere goes, Paradise Club was uniquely awesome.  Complete with the DJ’s playing in a log-cabin, decorative spider webs, and colorful trees lit up at night — I fell in love with the vibe at this stage.

During the day you could escape the sun, relax in a hammock, and groove to some quality house music.

Paradise Club was also the only stage that played music until 3 A.M, so it was poppin’ off for all the late-night party people.


Completely Cashless

Lost Paradise is the first music festival in Australia I’ve attended that has implemented this amazing system!

This payment method has become increasingly popular in the past few years, and just about every festival in Europe I’ve been to has utilized this cashless system.  It makes everything so easy and simple, and waiting for drinks never took more than a few minutes.

You also never had to worry about losing your cash / wallet, because your money is attached to your festival wristband.

REFUND SYSTEM

Every purchase of a drink at Lost Paradise included a $1 can deposit, so if you returned the can to the recycle station they’d refund $1 per can.  To my surprise, everyone was still just finishing their beers and tossing them on the floor.

So the smart people at the festival were just walking around with a trash bag for an hour or two, collecting as many cans as they could find, and depositing a hefty drink balance onto their wristband.

If you left Lost Paradise with money remaining on on your wristband, check out this article on the Lost Paradise blog:

How To Get A Refund On Your Wristband 


Food & Drink

Located right in the middle of the festival is where you’ll find The Lost Village.

While the vendor lines did get bit a tad bit too long in the mornings / afternoon, the attendees of this festival were given quite a large selection to choose from.  A few of the popular vendors were the Turkish Gozleme, Cuban Cantina, and the delicious asian burrito known as a “Spurrito”.

Prices ranged at each vendor, but for a decent sized meal you should be prepared to pay between $13 – $21 dollars.

Lost Paradise does not allow you to bring in your own alcohol into the festival, and drinks will cost you between $9-13 dollars.


The Lost Feast

This long-table communal dining experience is something I would strongly recommend to everyone attending future events.  While I didn’t get to actually taste it for myself, I was there to photograph the Lost Feast on Saturday and everything looked / smelled incredible.

Complete with excellent music provided by a one-man band, delicious beer & wine, and a beautiful ambience — it’s well worth the $65 per-person cost.


 Yoga & Workshops

“IF MUSIC IS THE HEARTBEAT OF LOST PARADISE, THE YOGA, WORKSHOPS AND SERENITY OF SHAMBHALA IS THE SOUL.

A trip out to Lost Paradise wouldn’t be complete without making your way over to the Shambhala Fields for some yoga, relaxing massage, or listening to one of the thought-provoking speeches.  There are plenty of yoga sessions to join in on from 8:00 A.M – 8:00 P.M, all ranging in various styles and practices.

I was also there to listen to some of the “Lost Paradise: Rites of Passage Talk”, and it was really great!  It was something I’ve never seen at any other music festival, and you could really tell that Lost Paradise works really hard to make this an all-encompassing 3-day experience.


Top 8 Sets

I’m a big fan of underground electronic music, so I was pretty much just loving every artist at the Lost Disco (TRIANGLE) stage.  Yes, I did hear that acts like Sticky Fingers, Flight Facilities NYE set, and Gang of Youths all played incredible sets, I unfortunately did not witness them…


1 ) Tristan Case ->  2 ) Robbie Lowe  (Day 2:  15:30 – 18:30 A.M)

These two local Sydney legends played one after the other on Saturday, and every single track I heard was superb.  I’ve seen both these guys play at Return to Rio, and they absolutely slay it every time they hit the decks.  I actually didn’t even know they were on the line-up until a couple days before the festival!  So if you’re in Sydney and looking for a proper party, take a look at when they’re performing next.


3 ) Doorly ->  4 ) Eats Everything (Day 2:  22:30 – 2:00 A.M)

This was easily the best 3.5 hours of music I had heard during the festival.  It was my first time seeing both of these DJ’s play, and they completely crushed it!  The lighting was out of this world, the bass was loud, and the song selection was nothing but the best.  I was standing right behind Eats Everything while he impressively managed playing all-four CDJ’s to a massive crowd, and that was an experience I’ll never forget.


5 ) HEIDI -> 6) Kolsch ( Day 3 20:30 – 00:00)

The last four hours of music of 2016 were simply incredible.  I had seen Kolsch at a festival in the Netherlands back in 2013, and have been dying to see him again ever since.  Heidi warmed up the crowd extremely well, but Kolsch brought it home with an epic house and techno set.


7 ) Young Franco & 8) Set-Mo

Both of these acts might not have the world-wide recognition that they deserve, but they have grown absolutely massive down here in Australia.  Their sets were both fun, energetic, and played to massively supportive crowds who were dancing the entire time.  Kudos to these Aussie legends!


Lost Paradise TIPS


1 )  Arrive a Day Early

Lost Paradise gives it’s attendees the option to buy an “extra-day” ticket, and that allows you to arrive to the festival one-day early.  While it will set-you back around $50, I think it’s definitely worth it.

2 )  North Campground

This is the main reason I’d recommend buying the extra-day ticket, because it will allow you to camp in the north campground, which is right next to the festival!  I was actually in the south campground, and it wasn’t that far of a walk (but if I had a choice, I’d definitely choose the north).

3 ) Fancy Dress is Important

Australia festival people take fancy dress very seriously, and you have to dress up to be apart of the fun!  Just go all out!  Coordinate a costume / shirt design or something with your friends to become the ultimate festival squad.

4 ) Sun Protection + Staying Hydrated is Vital

This probably isn’t news to anyone who has attended a music festival before, but I have to reiterate how extremely hot and sunny it can get at Lost Paradise.  Protect yourself, party safe, and bring a reusable water bottle.

5 ) Bring Food to Save Money

You can bring in as much food as you want, so unless you want to spend $45 on food every day, then bring your own grub.  I would strongly recommend sampling some of the food items though, because it is pretty damn great.

6 )  Be a Festival Camping Pro

The most important things to bring are gazebos (multiple for shade), one table, folding chairs, portable music player, power chargers, water, gatorade, fruit, sleeping bag, tent, blow-up air mattress, and shade for your tent as well!

7 )  Bring a Spray Bottle

The (amazing) people I camped with brought a couple spray bottles, and I had no idea how much it would help to keep us cool during those hot festival days.

8 ) Collect Beer Cans for Recycling

I honestly can’t recommend this enough!  If you put in just a little bit of work, you won’t have to pay for a single drink while at Lost Paradise.  You will earn $1 per can collected…it’s so easy!

9 )  Leave No Trace

There are plenty of areas to leave your trash before leaving the festival, so be a respectful festival attendee and properly clean up your campsite before leaving.  It’s our duty to keep this venue beautiful!

10 )  Read The Lost Paradise Blog

Seriously.  It’s amazing.  The best posts are “The Lost Paradise Bible” which is filled with heaps of important information, and “The 10 Festival Camping Commandments“, which is just important common sense rules, tips, and guidelines for camping.


Lost Paradise completely exceeded all my expectations, and it’s probably the best organized and entertaining festival I’ve attended while traveling through Australia.

To conclude this festival review…I have to give a massive shout-out to everyone who attended this 2016  edition of Lost Paradise!   The crowd and energy at this festival was simply spectacular, and there wasn’t a bad vibe in all of Glenworth Valley.  I had so much fun running around and taking photos of everyone, and I’m looking forward to seeing you guys at another festival soon!

THANKS FOR HAVING ME LOST PARADISE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR!


Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

11 Reasons Why The Groove Cruise Is The Ultimate Festival Vacation

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It’s been one week since I got off The Groove Cruise, and I’ve have had a bit of time to reflect on what just happened.

I feel like I’ve said this quite often — about a lot of different experiences…but I think it needs to be said once more.

The Groove Cruise was by far the best music festival experience I have ever attended…

But to be fair — I don’t even think you can call it a music festival, because it’s just sooo much more than that.

It’s a Family.  It’s a Festival.  It’s a Cruise.  It’s a Vacation.

And it’s truly magical…

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I’ve been to my fair share of music festivals around the world, and nothing can even compare to what I just experienced.  

Normally after attending events, I review them and discuss things like the venue, the best sets, and various other aspects, but today my goal is to share with you what made this experience so unique and incredible!


1) The Groove Cruise Family #GCFam

I’ve honestly never felt a stronger community vibe…

I went on Groove Cruise completely alone, and I left that ship with countless new amazing friends.  By the end of Day 5 — there were no longer dance floors packed with strangers, but rather my various groups of “family members” spread throughout different areas of the stage.

Everyone was just extremely happy and positive all the time, and were sending their love in all directions.  

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There was something special in that ocean air that is unexplainable.  Awkward elevator silences were non existent, and you would never make eye contact with someone without greeting them with a smile.

Even if people didn’t know each other, we all understood that we were apart of this legendary experience together.

I’m getting goosebumps as I write this, because it’s just so damn true.  Anyone who was on Groove Cruise will agree with me, that the energy that we created together on the Norwegian Sun for those 5 days was something truly magical.  I’ll honestly never forget it.

I might have been a Groove Cruise virgin going into this, but now my cherry is popped and I am a loud and proud member of the #GCFam!

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2) Artist Interaction

You’re in the buffet line – creeping on Sunnery James while he gets an ice cream cone.  You’re walking to a different stage, glance to your left and there is Fedde Le Grand right next to you.  You timidly walk up to Orjan Nilsen and ask for a selfie, which he of course agrees to because he’s one of the friendliest DJ’s you’ll ever meet.

The artists are all about this experience, because they too can feel this special atmosphere just like everyone else.

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I actually heard that it’s in their contracts that the DJ’s have to be onboard (get it?) with the artist/guest interaction that occurs during Groove Cruise.  I mean unless the DJ’s just want to stay in their rooms the entire time, it’s pretty obvious that they are going to run into their fans in the hallways.

I had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing DJ’s.  These are artists that I’ve looked up to for years, and have seen play to stadiums of 20,000+ people — and here I am just hanging out with them.  Pretty dope, yeah?

Fedde Le Grand

Fedde Le Grand


3) Non-Stop Music

Let that sink in.  This is 5-straight days of non-stop music! 

However, this goes hand in hand with the biggest struggle of all – dealing with the F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out). Unfortunately, it’s simply impossible to catch every set you would like to see, no matter how hard you try.

The party was always pumping.  You wake up, fall out of bed, head to the buffet for some morning grub, and you can already see the Pool stage going off.  Grab yourself a piece of bread, a cuppa’joe, and then get after it!

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4) Themed Parties

I have to give major props to everyone who attended Groove Cruise Cabo, because you all showed ready to go with suitcases full of elaborate costumes and accessories!  I didn’t fully understand this before hand, but dressing up is half the fun of GC!


Check out my Groove Cruise Album on Facebook for more photos of everyone’s amazing costumeS!


Friday:   SHINE THE FUCK UP

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Saturday: Baby Blue & Pink Party ///  YOU CELEBRITY

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Sunday:  FUTURISTIC

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Monday:  HALLOWEEN ON THE HIGH SEAS
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Tuesday:  DEVIL & ANGEL /// ARABIAN NIGHTS

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Groove Cruise Miami Themes (January 23-27, 2017)

These sound incredible!  Wouldn’t mind being there to photograph everyone’s costumes!

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5) The Cruising Convenience

As much as I love camping festivals, nothing will ever beat the convenience of having your room just a short walk away.

Want to take a shit in the privacy of your own room?  Go for it.  

That tequila shot not sitting well and think you need a vomit?  Head back to your room.  

Need a quick little disco nap to recharge your batteries for the sunrise techno sessions?  That’s easy to do.

It honestly was so damn convenient being on a cruise ship, because you could always go back to your room and chill whenever necessary.  Better yet – when you decide you’re ready to emerge from your room the party was still poppin’ off just a few steps away somewhere around the ship.

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6) Cruise Activities & Amenities

Ever wanted to sit in a jacuzzi, sip on a cocktail (or five) on the side of the ship watching the sun set to some sick techno beats? You can do it!  Feel like a bit of competition? Go ahead and sneak away from the stage and show your sporting prowess with a quick game of basketball, ping-pong, or soccer.  Love a cheeky punt? Well you’re in luck – there was a full casino on board for the gambling addicts and card counters who just can’t resist that blackjack table.

I actually had never been on a cruise before!  So I was in awe of all these cruise amenities.

You see…?  Much more than a music festival.

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7) The 24/7 Buffet

You know what tastes amazing at 9:00 A.M when Mendo is finishing up his absolute monster set?

B-A-C-O-N

When it comes to parties that last for 5-days straight, remembering to eat is of the upmost importance.

Food = Calories = Energy

I absolutely loved the buffet on the ship, and I always found myself going back for seconds and thirds.

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Hey Mendo…want some bacon?


8) Incredible Organization

I have to give a massive shout-out to everyone at Whet Travel for organizing this event.  From a first timer’s point-of-view, everything went absolutely perfect!  I thought that every email we received with information prior to the event was really helpful, and while we were on board we were always kept up-to-date with the important changes to stages, set-times, and activities.

Oh, and a crowd favorite — every morning we were greeted with the incredible “GOOOD MORNING GROOVE CRUISE” by CEO & Founder Jason Beukema who would tell us what we had in store for the day.  I believe there are many of us who are still waiting for a recording of this to use as our alarms.

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9) The Destinations

For this year’s west coast edition, The Groove Cruise decided to make it’s way down to Cabo San Lucas, and it was a phenomenal choice!  I had never been to Cabo before, and let me tell you – it’s truly gorgeous.  I’ll admit that I actually missed out on a lot of day-time exploring due to catching up on sleep, but the city was lovely, and the nightclubs were awesome.

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ME CABO

This is where the pool party was held all day long, and this venue honestly could not have been more perfect.  With the massive pool, swim-up bar, and beachside location with the view of the cruiseship in the distance — everyone had a blast at ME Cabo.  The highlight of the night would definitely be Dubfire, because he absolutely destroyed that place.

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BREATHLESS

After ME Cabo ended, everyone made the short trek over to the afterparty at this beautiful venue called Breathless.  The music was on point, the atmosphere was quality, and everyone was looking sexy as hell in their various costumes.

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10) The Sunrises & Sunsets

There really is nothing better than watching the sunrise or set while you’re on a boat and listening to quality music.  I made it my mission to watch and photograph as many as I could, and I think I did a pretty damn good job!  I will never forget watching the sun come back while on the top of the cruise listening to Prok + Fitch play one of the best sets of the festival.  It was surreal.

My favorite Instagram photo of the first sunset!

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11) The Facebook Groups

Hands down one of my favorite aspects of joining the Groove Cruise Family, is being able to take part and interact with everyone before / after the trip.  It was really helpful before-hand because first timers could join the Groove Cruise Virgins group and ask all their questions about what to expect.

The best part though was after the festival because people write the most beautiful and heart-warming posts about their experiences on board.  You can really feel the love in this Facebook group. I’ve literally checked in on it everyday, and it’s all positive vibes.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their pictures, videos, memes, etc.  It’s helping me cope with my post holiday depression and separation anxiety!!  Easily my favorite group on Facebook now.  The GCFAM love is real.

Don't even try to join unless you were apart of the Groove Cruise Cabo Fam

Don’t even try to join unless you were apart of the #GCFAM

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The Aftermovie


THANK YOU GROOVE CRUISE!!

This was so much more than just another music festival…this was truly a life-changing vacation.

The people I had the pleasure of meeting during these 5-days will forever be apart of my life, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been initiated into this loving and accepting Groove Cruise Family!

If you’re reading this, I invite you to keep up with my travels around the world.  I’ve got some really exciting plans coming up in the next few months, and am pretty much always traveling and raving in different countries.  🙂

Follow along here:   

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Groove Cruise Miami

January 23-27, 2017

If you’re looking for one of the best parties and have some vacation time saved up, I would strongly recommend you fly out to Florida for Groove Cruise Miami!  I’m not sure where I’ll be in January (possibly Australia, New Zealand, or back in America), but I’m definitely trying to attend, because I know it’s going to be an another life-changing experience!  They will be on the largest cruise they’ve ever sailed, and are going to the gorgeous island of Grand Turk.

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Dirtybird Campout: The Ultimate Festival Summer Camp

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As Claude Von Stroke accepted his award for America’s Best DJ before his set on Friday night, I thought to myself…it won’t be long until Dirtybird Campout starts receiving it’s own awards for becoming one of the best festivals in America.  While this was only the 2nd edition of DBC, everything went without a hiccup and rewarded it’s attendees with one fantastic festival experience…

Dirtybird Campout was hands down one of the most ridiculously fun & epic weekends of my life. 

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As a music festival addict and underground house and techno enthusiast, I knew that Dirtybird Campout was going to be a good time…but now I realize, that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  

Dirtybird Records is more than just a record label…it’s a family, and Dirtybird Campout has become the event where all it’s extended family members come together for a weekend of childish games, quality underground dance music, and pure Dirtybird debauchery…


The Venue

Located at the Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, California — I can’t think of a more perfect venue for an event like Dirtybird Campout.

While I would say most of the attendees have actually been to this venue before for events like Lightning In A Bottle & Woogie Weekend, it was my first time making the journey out to Oak Canyon Park.

The land is large and flat which make it perfect for walking around a festival.  The small lake provides a serene escape that you can sit by while you can still hear the sound of booming bass in the distance.  There’s also plenty of trees which provide much needed shade from the relentless Southern-California sun.

All-in-all — its exactly what you’re looking for in an event of this size.  Not too big, not too small — just right.

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Music Highlights

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a festival where the music was so consistently on point throughout the entire event.  Besides the catastrophic closing set by Reggie Watts (see below), every single artist played nothing but the dirtiest, funkiest, grooviest house tunes.

Each member of the Dirtybird crew I saw absolutely slayed it, and I couldn’t have been happier with the soundtrack of the weekend.

Take a look at the line-up / set-times:

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One of my favorite aspects of Dirtybird Campout is that there was only one stage playing music at any given time:

The Birdhouse which ran until midnight every night, and the Late Night Lodge which ran until 7 A.M.

That meant no set-time clashes, no difficult decisions, and no missing any artist you want to see.

Everyone was listening to the same music, and it really added to the intimate festival atmosphere.  Finding people was as easy as heading to your usual squad spot, or looking into the sky for your groups totem pole.  Follow the Unicorn!

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 While I’m not technically a music journalist, all I will say is that the music heard at Dirtybird Campout was out of this world.  I have been a fan of the Dirtybird record label for quite awhile, so it was pretty awesome to be surrounded by that specific sound all weekend.

But the real magic strangely all happened on Sunday Night…

Will Clarke -> Marc Houle -> Kill Frenzy -> Green Velvet -> Family Set

This is without a doubt the best 7 hours of music that I’ve ever heard…

I can’t explain it, but I’m still in shock about what happened on that closing day at DBC .  It was a proper ending to a ridiculous weekend.

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Camping + The Dirtybird Campers

Walking around the campsite, I’ve never felt a stronger sense of community at a festival.  You look up in the sky and you’ll see flags waiving  that represent the different festival squads and crews at the event.

As the saying goes — “there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet”.

Photo Credit: Juliana Bernstein

Photo Credit: Juliana Bernstein

The atmosphere at Dirtybird Campout was definitely something unique.  Everyone was just the happiest versions of themselves, and were so open to talking to and meeting new people.

I had only known one person going into this festival, but left with an amazing group of new friends that I can’t wait to party with again in the future.

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While the campgrounds were basic, everyone in attendance were festival pros.  Everyone’s campsites had ample room of shade from the countless EZ-UPS and scarves, blow-up coaches, plenty of chairs, trunks full of food, and coolers everywhere with chilled beverages.

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This is the best part about camping festivals.  You come fully prepared to survive for 3 days, and really don’t have to spend too much inside the festival.

Easily  the best part about the campsite though were the after-parties.  

There so many impressive camps with full-on equipment to keep the party going 24/7.  It was also epic hearing that all the Dirtybird campers have quality taste in music, as I was thoroughly impressed with the music in the campsites, as well as the festival grounds.


Activities

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Kickball, Archery, and Ultimate Frisbee were just a few of the 50+ different activities you could find yourself joining at DBC.

This is what made this weekend the ultimate adult weekend summercamp…it’s a place where you feel like a kid again, and play all the games that bring you straight back to your childhood.

It took me about 10 minutes to walk around the entire festival the day I got there, and I was stoked to see people playing basketball and ping-pong, with the loud sounds of Dirytbird house music playing from the stage.

Photo Credit: Watchara Phomicinda

Photo Credit: Watchara Phomicinda


“Tribes: DIRTYBIRD” Documentary

After Claude Von Stroke’s impressive set on Friday night, everyone’s attention was drawn to the side TV screen for the premeire of the Smirfnoff Sound Collective documentary  about Dirtybird.

This is a must-watch.  

It gives you an amazing background of how Dirtybird got to where they are today, and will definitely have you wishing you were worked with them.

“The Dirytbid fan is someone whose just is opened mind to music, and looking to have a good fun time, that’s all you gotta do, and you’re accepted.”

“It’s just love, and fun, and dance”


The Catostrophic Set from Reggie Watts…

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with Claude Von Stroke about this one.

This was by far the biggest disappointment of my entire weekend, and almost of any festival I’ve ever attended.

Reggie Watts, who may be a very talented musician and comedian, was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You can’t play the closing set at the Birdhouse stage with whatever strange spacey / comedy / hip-hop or whatever genre you want to call his music.

It was a complete and utter buzzkill.

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During his set, I actually found myself walking around asking people their thoughts, and everyone agreed it was simply a travesty. 

This is Dirtybird Campout, a boutique and intimate festival for fans of underground electronic music.  We come here to dance, and at no point during his 60-minute catostrophic set did he play anything resemblant of a dance-worthy tune.

While I do respect him as a musician, he just should not have been closing down that stage for the night.


Dirtybird Campout Tips

  • While most parts of the country are starting to cool down in Mid-October, it’s still hot as balls in Southern California.  Bring plenty of water and sunscreen to protect yourself and stay hydrated!
  • Come prepared with all the booze and energy drinks you’ll want to consume during the festival.  The campsite is never too far from the festival, and it’s easy to head back for a cheeky drink in between sets.
  • Make new friends.  This obvious, but I’ve never been to a a festival with such an amazing community like feeling.  Everyone here is so genuinely nice and beautiful.  Talk to strangers…it’ll pay off!
  • Showers cost $7, so unless you’re willing to pay that — bring baby wipes to keep yourself clean.
  • Your campsite should be pimped out.  This goes for any camping festival.  If you don’t have all the necessities, make sure you go with people who know what they’re doing.
  • Get involved.  Play games.  Do Yoga.  Climb trees.  Throw waterballoons.

Photo Credit: Julia Bernstein


The  Dirtybird Campout 2016 Aftermovie


Dirtybird Campout Spotify Playlist

You better believe that this playlist has been on repeat ever since leaving Campout.  It’s full of nothing but the best tracks and remixes from the artists that played over the weekend.  Do yourself a favor and check it out!  You’re guaranteed to find some quality tunes…

As a nomadic travel-blogger, I never really know where I’ll be in one year’s time…but I honestly don’t think there’s even the slightest chance that I won’t make the journey back to California for next year’s edition of Dirtybird Campout.  I don’t care how long the plane ride is…I’ll be there…


Follow Dirtybird Campout: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Huge thanks to everyone over at Dirtybird Records & Do Lab for organizing this amazing weekend!  It was a festival for the record books, and I’m officially hooked on all things Dirtybird.

Dirtybird Campout was one of the best weekends I've had a in a long time. This was only the second year they've thrown it, and it was a massive success. It was the ultimate summer camp for adults. I met some truly incredible people, and danced like crazy for 3 days of non stop quality music. The Dirtybird crew really know how to throw a party. See all you campers next year! [email protected] ? @dirtybirdcamp

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

Balaton Sound 2016 — The Best Music Festival I’ve Ever Attended

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As Jay Lumen played his final song at the Heineken stage on Sunday morning at 5:55 A.M, and the festival would shortly come to an end — I couldn’t help but smile when I thought about the past 5 days of festival madness that I had experienced at Balaton Sound.

The non-stop incredible music, the gorgeous location, the friendly atmosphere, the massive stages, the affordable prices, etc…

Truly, a perfectly organized festival…

It was an experience that I’ll never forget, and will recommend to absolutely everyone..


To be honest, I actually had never really heard too much about Balaton Sound.  I remember I included it in my 30 Music Festivals To Experience Before You Die article, but that was just from diligent research.  

My decision to come to this Balaton Sound happened solely because I found a 38 euro flight to Budapest!  That’s literally the only reason I came.  

I’ve been to some incredible festivals around the world like:  Coachella, Tomorrowland, Amsterdam Dance Event, Electric Daisy Carnival, Sonar, Mysteryland, Sonus, Stereosonic, etc

And I can confidently say that this is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

Let me try and explain why.


Location, Location, Location

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Lake Balaton is about a 1.5 hour drive from Budapest, and it’s simply a gorgeous destination.  I quickly realized is the perfect location for a festival of this magnitude.  There’s plenty of open space, nearby accommodations, and amazing summer weather.

For a travel blogger and photographer such as myself — I could not have been more pleased with the picturesque sunsets every evening, and the jaw dropping sunrises every morning. 

When you’re not at the festival, you’re spending your days relaxing by the lake, having a cheeky swim, and enjoying the natural beauty you’ll find in Lake Balaton. 


Amazing, Massive, and Plentiful Stages

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Music Festivals are adult playgrounds — and Balaton Sound had entertainment absolutely everywhere.  There were 10 incredible stages all varying in size, vibe, and spread throughout the festival grounds. 

The most visually impressive would definitely be the MainStage.  With it’s vibrant colors, massive LED screens, and booming bass no matter where you are standing — everyone found themselves watching at least one or two sets at the Mainstage. 

I mean look at this.  WOW.  Not too shabby?

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The Telekom Arena was the second largest stage —  and was one huge tented beast.  This stage had amazing sound, plenty of space for the bigger acts, and really impressive lighting.  At times you’d find it insanely crowded, and at other times you could find it nearly empty.  

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The Jager Arena had a huge dome shape, and brought some big names to it’s stages.  I actually didn’t spend too much here, but I did see Tomsize lay down some filthy trap beats for about 20 minutes, and Sub-Focus drop some wicked drum-and-bass.  If you walked in this stage, you instantly felt the party vibes.  It was LOUD and people were always going crazy.   

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The Heineken Stage — *My Favorite*

If you were my friend and were looking for me at this festival, your best bet would be to head straight to the Heineken stage.

This gigantic pyramid perfectly built over the lake made it ideal for some epic sunset & sunrise photography, and was the ultimate stage for deep / tech house and techno tunes. 

If underground electronic music isn’t your preferred style, I doubt you spent too much time here, but that’s your mistake.  This stage had the best atmosphere of all them, and was full of people who truly know and appreciate their quality dance music. 

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The Jana Stage was probably the most unique of them all, as it was covered in sand and provided a really great beach vibe.  The tunes were always groovy as hell, the sunset views were spectacular, and it was never really overcrowded.  I came here almost every night to watch the sunset and met some really great people that I ended up kicking it with a lot throughout the festival.    

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Music from 10 A.M – 6 A.M

Party until the sunrise every night…

This was one of the biggest factors which made this festival the best I’ve ever attended.  There’s basically music playing 24 / 7 — which there actually is if you go to the after-parties. 

Listening to incredible DJ’s on Lake Balaton while watching the sunrise was truly an amazing experience.  You just can’t beat it.   

I’ve attended too many festivals that end around midnight or 1 A.M — and it’s just now how a festival should be.      


Cashless Payment & Top-Up Points

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It’s becoming more and more common at festivals these days to have cashless payments, and I definitely think it’s the best way to do it. 

I love how they give you an actual CARD, and not tokens that are easily lost.  There were top-up points spread out all over the festival, and it never took more than a minute or two to re-load your card with more value. 

There was a small deposit for the card, as well as a 500 HUF deposit that you could get back if you filled up a small bag of trash — which I thought was a really cool idea, and very easy to accomplish.       

Food & Drink Options Absolutely Everywhere

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Now that you’ve got some cash on your card — let’s go spend it.

When it comes to food options — I was amazed at all the variety this festival offered.  No matter what type of food you were in the mood for — Balaton Sound had you covered.

I typically went for the classic Doner Kebab, because well — it’s scientifically proven it’s the best drunk meal in the world.  But I enjoyed an occasional slice of pizza, and a bowl of delicious fried rice. 

Food prices ranged, but you’re looking to spend around $5-$8 per meal. 


Affordable Drinks

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630 HUF = 2 EUROS! 

I’m a beer drinker, and I was very pleased when I found out the price of beer was only 630 HUF.  

I’ve never been to a music festival with 2 euro beers.  Normally at festivals I’m worried about bankrupting myself just because of drink prices — but because this festival is in the wonderfully affordable country of Hungary — this was not the case.

For mixed-drinks you’re looking at spending around 1400 HUF (4.50 Euro) though, and a red bull would cost you about 1000 HUF (3.15 Euro). 

I am fully aware that these prices ARE EXPENSIVE for typical drink costs in Hungary, but I’ve been to festivals that charge 5-8 euro per beer, so I was definitely pleased with the Balaton Sound menu. 

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The Crowd

Incredibly friendly people from around the world who came to party, dance, and make new friends.

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Without a doubt, the best aspect of any music festival is the atmosphere — and Balaton Sound’s vibe could not have been any better.

There was a wide mix of people from all over the world.

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We need to discuss Belgium

If you asked some one at the festival where they were from — there was basically a 50% chance they were from Belgium.

I have never been to a festival in another country which had such an overwhelmingly amount of people from a different country. 

Don’t get me wrong — I love Belgians!!  I actually flew from Brussels – Budapest, and met some awesome Belgians on the plane — it was just a definitely a surprise to see how many attend Balaton Sound.  

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Yo Belgium — why is this such a popular festival for you guys?   

I also met heaps of awesome Hungarians, English, Irish, Austrians, Dutch, French, Spanish, Australians, Germans, etc. 

I even met a few other Americans (we were a rare breed at Balaton, but we were around)

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My Top 10 Sets

Sven Vath

Pappa Sven did what he does best and played a stellar techno set.  It was my first time properly seeing him, but it won’t be my last.   

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Martin Garrixx 

The Dutch superstar played a crowd-pleasing set that was a highlight of Friday night.  He really knows how to work the crowd, and keep the energy flowing throughout.      

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Lost Frequencies

I hadn’t heard too much about this guy was before Balaton Sound, but I’m really glad I made my way over to the Heineken Stage for his set.  If there’s one word to describe it’s set it’s simply FUN.  This dude was throwing out all types of genres, and keeping the dance vibes the entire time.  He dropped the instant hit “House Every Weekend” and I’ll never forget the crowd go crazy.  

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Dixon  

Hands down one of the best DJ’s I’ve ever seen.  When I saw him headline this small boutique camping festival in Australia called Return To Rio, he played a ridiculous 4-hour set, and I couldn’t wait to see him ever since.  Not to my surprise, he absolutely killed it again at Balaton Sound.  If Dixon is ever playing at a festival I attend, I will definitely be seeing him spin.

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W&W

Having seen W&W once before, I know that these guys don’t come to mess around.  They dropped banger after banger.  Hard-hitting stuff, and definitely crushed the Mainstage.  I watched and listened from afar, and was jamming the entire time. 

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Armin Van Buuren

I’ve honestly seen AVB play at least 6 or 7 times now, and every time he plays an amazing set.  He’s an absolute legend, and his skills behind the decks are truly impressive.  There’s a reason he was the #1 DJ in the world for 4 years.   

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Adam Beyer

Techno beast.  I had never seen Adam Beyer before, and he crushed the Telekom Arena.  Real proper techno set filled with heavy tracks.   

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The Chainsmokers

This favorite American duo seem to be dominating the festival scene this past year.  With hits like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down”, Alex & Drew definitely know how to produce a good track.  I had never seen them DJ though, so I was stoked to finally see them play.  Needless to say, they played one of the best sets of the entire weekend.  A solid mix of beautiful progressive house, filthy electro drops, heavy trap beats, and even some throwback tunes.   

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Jay Lumen

Closing out the festival in style, Jay Lumen played a 2-hour set that was filled with nothing but the best techno tracks.  Watching the sunrise while recording him play backstage is a moment that I’ll never forget.    

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Worst Sets

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I honestly can’t believe I listened to a DVBBS set.  They are just the biggest douche bags in the festival scene.  They barely even DJ.  One of the guys pretends he’s doing so much complicated stuff behind the decks, but if you’re actually listening — they never even mix two tracks together.

He just cuts off the music while the other guy shouts some stupid shit on the mic, and then brings in the next song.  It was also pretty funny when the microphone guy would touch something on the mixer (as if he’s making any difference).  Straight up posers. 

Oh, and then when the one DJ stands up on stage and lights a spliff.  Such a douche…

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The music they played was alright.  Just heavy hitting trap / EDM stuff.  But god, they are just awful. 

They’ve also been all over the news recently because two unconscious girls were found in their dressing room at the festival.  Fortunately, they’ve already been dropped from the Sziget line-up.  Let’s hope more festivals stop booking these lame, fake, douche bags.  

Okay. Rant Over.  


Don Diablo

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I had never seen Don Diablo before, but had actually heard decent things about his sets.  I used to have a couple of his tracks in my iTunes library, and was excited to see him because his set-time perfectly fit the gap of the two main people I wanted to see.

But his set was simply terrible.  It would have been the same to play the radio.  There was just nothing special about it, and the song selection could not have been more vanilla. 

Go home, Don Diablo — you’re boring. 


Favorite New Artist

Nora Matisse

This local Hungarian female DJ smashed the Heineken stage after Lost Frequencies played.  I had never heard of her before, but her music was right up my alley.  I’m glad I discovered her, and I look forward to seeing her spin again. 

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Check out her 2016 Festival Promo Mix


The Boat Parties

Can’t believe I didn’t go on one…

The Boat parties were something I was very interested in when I came down to Balaton Sound, but unfortunately all the tickets sold-out well in-advance.  From what I’ve heard, they were a blast.  How could they not be?  Drinks, dancing, and music on Lake Balaton?  Sounds pretty great to me.  I’ll definitely be planning a bit better whenever I make it back to this amazing festival.


Shoutout To The Baywatch Crew
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You know how I told you that coming to this festival was a last minute decision?  Well, that also meant that I had no one to go to Balaton Sound with.

Well, thanks to the power of Facebook — I searched on the Balaton Sound group for the word “apartment” hoping to find people with a spare room to rent.

I instantly found what I was looking for, was added into a group chat, and was introduced to this amazing group of English and Irish ravers. 

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go — but I’m very happy to share that I had such an amazing time getting to know everyone in this group.  Such an awesome rave family they’ve built over the years, and I’m honored to have been welcomed into the crew. 

Thanks for everything guys.  Looking forward to meeting up at another festival or country around the world.  🙂 

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CONCLUSION

Out of all the festivals I’ve been to around the world (which is quite a lot), I definitely found Balaton Sound to be the absolute best.  It might not be the biggest or most popular festival in Europe, but it’s a unique experience that should not be missed.

  • 5 Long Epic Festival Days
  • The Line-up was stacked
  • Music Until 6 A.M
  • Perfect Location on Lake Balaton
  • Excellent Cashless Payment & Top-Up system
  • Food & Drink Everywhere
  • Plenty of Camping & Accommodation options
  • Helpful smartphone APP with map & schedule
  • + an amazing Festival atmosphere

CHECK OUT ALL MY PHOTOS HERE:   BALATON SOUND FACEBOOK ALBUM

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THANK YOU BALATON SOUND!   CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!

Have you ever been to Balaton Sound?  What did you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!


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BALATON SOUND

Groovin The Moo Festival Review #TuneSquad

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When I landed in Sydney, I had a goal to attend as many music festivals in Australia as possible.  Luckily for me, I found an amazing group of friends that have a similar passion for a quality party.

With it being one of my mate’s birthdays that weekend (Happy Bday Troy), and the legendary Groovin The Moo Festival — it felt like the perfect time for a weekend away in Canberra.

I remember writing about how Groovin The Moo was one of the top music events in April, and it definitely did not disappoint.

I’ll be honest, out of all the festivals I’ve been to in Australia — this might have been the one I was least excited for.  I was exhausted from working quite a lot, the line-up lacked any underground house and techno, and I’ve been trying to save money and festivals are expensive.

But I’m really glad I went, because Groovin The Moo definitely was a solid party.

Let’s discuss…

TuneSquad

Just like any aspect of travel, sharing an experience with a great group of people can make the biggest difference.  Over the past 8 months, I’ve met some amazing people here in Sydney.  Thanks to their quality organizational skills (shoutout to Cass), we all rocked up to the festival in style.  We were easily the largest squad of the festival, and repeatedly had people take photos of us.  I mean, look at us.  Hot damn, we look good.

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The Venue

In my opinion, Groovin The Moo was held at a pretty standard venue.  There was no “wow” factor about it, but it had green grass, a decent amount of room, and we were fortunate to  have beautiful weather!

There were a few times where I felt that it could have been a bit bigger though.

This was a Sold-Out event, and you could definitely tell.  There were people everywhere.  Almost too crowded at times.

The only thing that really bothered me was the bathroom locations which were pretty far away from everything.  It’s nice when you’re at a festival and can run away to take a piss and be back within a few minutes.

The Stages

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If you’re looking at the set-list, you’d see that there were 3 different stages.  The main stage could not be missed, as it was pretty massive.  What I found strange about it was that it was set-up in two-halves.  This was due to a lot of the bands needing their own equipment and to make artist transitions a bit smoother.  I had never seen a festival stage do that before, and I’m not sure how much I like it.  It was just a bit weird having the artist focused on one-side of the stage.  It wasn’t really a big deal, but definitely something I felt was a bit strange.

The second stage was where I found myself at the majority of the day.   This was also a pretty massive tented stage, and felt that the vibe was consistently on point.  Everyone was dancing, grooving, and raving all day.

Top 3 Sets

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Safia:  Rather early on in the day, SAFIA took stage and completely blew my mind.  My friends listen to Safia quite a bit, but I only realized that when I saw them play live.  I love their style, their vocals, and their deep and groovy tunes that blended so perfectly together.  

Golden Features:  I had seen them once before at Field Day, and I’ve been listening to their music every since.  These guys really know how to put on a show, and their track selection is fuego.

Alison Wonderland:  Australia’s favorite trap queen closed out the main stage in style, and played one of the best sets of the entire day.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little bummed to hear her play a Justin Bieber remix, c’mon, closing set doesn’t need that shit, but she quickly redeemed herself with banger after banger.

Read:  The JATW Playlist:  Top Ten Tracks of April 2014

The Downsides

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All Ages Event:  Maybe I’m getting old, but you could definitely tell that this was an all ages event.  The last music festival I went to was Return to Rio, and that had one of the best festival atmospheres I’ve ever experienced.  Everyone was a bit older, and knew their underground house music.  At times this festival felt like a massive 17-years old birthday party.  Okay, maybe an exaggeration.  But I’m 27 years old, and partying around everyone 10 years younger than me was a bit strange.

Within 20 minutes of entering the festival, I swear I saw 16-year old girls throwing up with their friends holding back their hair.  I’m sorry, but this isn’t a Prom afterparty.  Get it together people.  Learn how to party responsibly.

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Alcohol Zone:  At music festivals, you’ll most likely find me towards the back of the stage, in an area where there’s plenty of room to dance with a beer in my hand.  Unfortunately, because this was an all-ages event – you weren’t allowed to bring beer out of the 18+ zone.  It was a huge buzz kill.  Especially when I bought 4 beers for friends, and had plans to bring them back to the squad.

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Ending at 10:30 P.M:    

Maybe it’s from my years of partying until sunrise in Barcelona, or hitting up full-moon parties in Thailand, but ending a festival around 10:30 P.M is really sad.  I really don’t think a festival should ever end before midnight, but unfortunately it happens all to often at music festivals in Australia.

I also was pretty hungover from drinking on Saturday night, so having the festival starting at 11:00 A.M just felt heaps early.

Conclusion

The music was great, the weather was beautiful, and the overall festival organization was above average.  There were definitely a few aspects of the party which I think could have made the festival a bit better, but I would definitely recommend Groovin The Moo to friends.  It’s one of the last big festivals of the season, and I’m really glad I went.

Have to give a major shoutout to the TUNESQUAD.  We absolutely crushed it.  What a weekend.  Hoping we rock our jerseys to the next festival we all attend together!


THANKS FOR READING


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Stereosonic Sydney 2015: A Festival Review

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I crawled into bed at 2:00 A.M.  The only way to express the state of my body and mind would be utterly knackered.  I closed my eyes and could still see the lazers.  I tried falling asleep but still could feel the powerful bass pulsing through my chest.  I just got home from quite possibly the best night I’ve had in Australia so far, and a day I had been looking forward to for ages.  

Stereosonic 2015.  Wow.  What a night for the record books.  

With a line-up this stacked, how could it not have been…

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When it comes to music festivals, I’d like to say I’m a pretty experienced guy.  I’ve grazed the polo fields during Coachella, I’ve escaped into the mysterious realm of Tomorrowland, and I’ve danced under the stars at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.  I’m pretty stoked to say that I’ve crossed another massive name when it comes to electronic music festivals around the world.  

If there’s one things Australians love to do — it’s party.  And wow, Stereosonic was a prime example of how well they can do so.

It was the first major electronic music festival I’ve attended during my time on Sydney, and it just got me even more pumped for the upcoming parties I’ll be attending.  

Let’s talk about Stereosonic…

Getting to the festival.

I met up with my mates at the train station, and made our way to Olympic Park.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to reach the venue.  The whole train was packed with Stereosonic attendees, all dressed up in their festival gear, and chugging the remaining pre-game mixes they had had prepared for the walk to the gates.  

With Stereosonic being a massive rave, and there only being one entrance — I was pretty nervous it was going to be hectic as hell to actually to get into the festival.  

But it couldn’t have been easier.  The entrance and security process lines took no more than 3 minutes total.  

 I entered the festival grounds, could hear the soothing sound of bass coming from all directions, and was prepared for the next 10 hours of electronic music.  

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Music Highlights

I spent the majority of the day in “The Woods” stage, which was the stage for the deep and tech-house lovers.  It wasn’t the biggest stage, or most popular — but it was quality music the entire day.  I stage hopped a little bit, but if you needed to find me — odds are you’d find me in the Woods.

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Claude Von Stroke — If there was one person on the entire line-up I cared about seeing — it was poppa Claude.  The “Godfather” of Dirtybird Records delivered a high-quality set of booty shaking house music.  He kept a solid groove going the entire time that kept my feet moving from left to right.  

Hannah Wants — I’ve had a few of her songs in my iTunes collection, but had never really had the opportunity to see her before.  She absolutely threw it down.  The crowd was solid, and she was dropping some dirty tech-house tracks. 

Armin Van Buuren — Now, I wasn’t planning on venturing over the main stage at all because I wanted to close out my night with MK in the Woods, but I couldn’t help myself to check out the MainStage at night.  And wow, it was impressive.  The pyrotechnics, the sound, the lakers — all top notch for a main stage festival.  I’ve seen Armin Van Buuren before, and I know he’ll always put on a good show.  His set at Stereo was just as I imagined it.  A mix between big room drops and pulsating trance bombs.  

JAUZ — Ever since I saw that Perth Stereosonic created a petition on reddit to put JAUZ on a later stage time, I knew I wanted to check out at least a bit of his set.  I probably only stayed for about 20 minutes, but it was one epic party.  Heavy trap and dubstep to get your heart pumping.  

The Worst Part About Stereosonic….

The Bathrooms.

I’ve been to many festivals, but the bathroom situation at Stereosonic was by far the worst I’ve ever experienced.  You’d have to wait in line for way to long, and girls were always going into the guys bathrooms because the lines for the ladies bathrooms were like 20-30 minutes long.

Oh…and the Condom situation

At any large electronic music festival, there will be a large amount of people sneaking in drugs.  When it comes to Australian festivals though, they have sniffer dogs everywhere around the entrance.  This leaves guys and girls one option to smuggle in their illicit substances.  I’ll let you guess where that is.

In almost bathroom I went to — there were condoms all over the place.  It was revolting.

Drug Death at Steresonic Sydney

I can’t write a review about this festival without bringing up the sad news of the passing of a 25-year old party attendee.  I can’t know 100%, but I’m actually pretty sure I saw the girl being driven out on a golf cart.

What’s my opinion on the matter?  Well, I really don’t think you can blame the organizer at all.  Stereosonic has gotten a lot of bad press recently.  But festival organizers always make sure there is the appropriate safety and security measures for it’s attendees.

Fun fact:  Australia ranks #1 for recreational drug use in 2014.

If you want to take drugs at a party like Stereosonic — than that’s your personal decision.

But it’s ultimately the person’s responsibility to take care of themselves.

Overall, Stereosonic was a complete blast.  Great music, atmosphere, and lots and lots of dancing.  I think my legs are still sore.  It was my first big festival in Australia, but I know I’ll be attending many more in the future.  Like the remaining festivals on the list below.

9 Music Festivals in Sydney To Keep You Dancing This Summer. 

Thanks for reading!