About This Festival
For the festival bucket-lister, Jam Cruise is a must. What else combines a five-day festival, three countries, and the stunning backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico into one constant party?
Jam Cruise has earned a reputation for its easygoing, happy-go-lucky atmosphere. In essence, it is a music lover’s ultimate carefree vacation. For more than a decade, it has provided its 3,000 attendees a welcome Caribbean respite from the January blues.
What is Jam?
Jam-band music includes styles as diverse as jazz fusion, psychedelic rock, and bluegrass. It’s known for its improvised and unpredictable live sets a la the Grateful Dead. Since Jam Cruise offers a variety of jam-band acts, the festival’s emphasis can’t help but be on breaking down barriers and blurring the lines between kinds of music, allowing for a wide range of musical experimentation in the process. All of this makes Jam Cruise the perfect place to discover a new favorite band or genre, with the beautiful Caribbean Sea as the constant backdrop.
What to do Onboard
Once you set sail, there’s no time to be bored while on board, what with food available around the clock, a pool, spa, and a casino. The spectrum of available activities also include a poker tournament, a door-decoration contest, autograph signings, and game shows. There are also yoga classes, educational workshops, and seminars featuring artists and special guests. Things get wild in the after sundown, with themed nights that might have you dressing for the disco. And don’t forget: There’s always the option of just chilling by the pool with a cocktail and a good book.
During each of the boat’s itinerary stops—Jam Cruise includes two full days at sea and one day each in Mexico and Honduras—you can explore the local culinary scene or do some sightseeing. Just make sure you reboard the ship each evening in time to get back in on the festival action.
The Music Itself
Despite all the activities available on board and off, the focus during Jam Cruise remains squarely on the music.
The party starts with a kickoff concert the day before the ship embarks. Once you’re on the water, most acts play two sets, giving festival-goers an opportunity to see as many performers as possible. 2015’s lineup included more than 50 acts including G. Love and Special Sauce, Snarky Puppy, the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, and Galactic. In addition to the kickoff party, there are pre and post shows in the Miami area for those that just didn’t get enough music on the ship.
Maintaining Good Vibes
To leave you with good vibes, Jam Cruise helps run Positive Legacy, a nonprofit designed to “develop service activities that music fans and musicians can participate in to bring a deeper sense of purpose to their entertainment and travel experiences.” You can get involved during or after Jam Cruise, in either environmental or social causes that benefit the communities you visited.