The Coachella Music Festival may conjure up images of dusty desert revelers and neo-hippies rolling in the grass, but things are about to get a tad more posh as the festival heads to the tropics. Introducing S.S. Coachella, a cruise ship concert the pairs sand and surf with sun and sound.
If your main deterrent in the past was the lack of all-inclusive buffets, overcrowded wave pools and arcade games, you're in luck. Celebrity Cruises has teamed up with Coachella organizer Goldenvoice to take the 13-year-old extravaganza to the seas aboard the 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette.
Coachella's new floating home offers numerous bars (Pool & Mast Bar, Sunset Bar, Ensemble Lounge and Club Quasar, among others), French, Italian and other European-inspired restaurants, and amenities like a casino, fitness area, library, Persian garden, cyber café, yoga studio, spa and salon.
Basically, it's no Indio -- the concert's usual home in Southern California's Colorado Desert.
At under 3,000 festivalgoers (and in a decidedly cramped setting), the S.S. Coachella promises a more intimate experience and an opportunity to expand the brand beyond its California roots.
The 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival grossed more than $47 million, making it the largest gross ever for a single concert event. Many analysts expected Goldenvoice to seek opportunities to grow or perhaps add another permanent venue.
But few anticipated a floating one.
Organizers will offer two back-to-back S.S. Coachella cruises on Celebrity Silhouette this December featuring a predictably top-notch coterie of performers.
On the menu in this musical buffet at sea are Pulp, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk, Sleigh Bells, Simian Mobile Disco and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, among a host of others. No word yet on any back-from-the-dead holographic celebrities.
If the Coachella-meets-Caribbean idea comes as a shock, it shouldn't. Festivals at sea have emerged as a lucrative business in recent years, with bands replacing karaoke singers, ABBA cover bands and pop has-beens as cruise ship entertainment.
The fast-rising electronic scene has its own cruise, the sold-out Holy Ship!, and music cruise organizer Sixthman, one of the industry's biggest players, has chartered cruise liners for voyages like The Rock Boat for over a decade. Kiss, Kid Rock, Weezer and New Kids on the Block are among a growing list of groups who've begun hosting their own annual rock-infused sailings.
In terms of business, the voyages are seen as beneficial for both the music and travel industries. The cruise liners can attract a younger clientele while the promoters and artists can rake in cash during the festival industry's winter doldrums. Plus, there are no curfews, no potentially dangerous drives home and no getting shut down by local authorities.
If you like your music with a side of paradise, these luxury liners offer the chance to have everything all in one place: your favorite bands, your ideal tropical vacation and the all-American opportunity to gorge on unlimited frozen yogurt.
The details: Each trip will depart from Fort Lauderdale, but you'll have your pick of paradise. The first, leaving Dec. 16, will sail for three nights to Nassau, Bahamas and back. The second, departing Dec. 19, will sail for four-nights to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and back. Fares for the S.S. Coachella begin at $500 per person and cabins will be available this Saturday at 10 a.m. PDT. Prices include lodging, food, and entertainment. The bar tab, however, goes on your Celebrity SeaPass.
Mark Johanson is the travel editor at the International Business Times. He has traveled to and written about more than 30 nations and territories on every continent except...