It’s not often that we see the founder of a festival interacting with attendees and fans the way that Jason from Whet Travel does. As big as Groove Cruise (and now Groove Island) has become, and no matter how long the event has been running, Jason has done a great job maintaining a tight-knit vibe that welcomes newcomers and brings them in like family.
One way he does that is through staying in touch on socials, mingling in the crowd at events, and occasionally sending out personally written letters to past and prospective attendees. Recently, we received a letter addressing the differences between Groove Cruise and Groove Island. Groove Island is a brand new festival concept from Whet Travel and a new and rare idea for the US festival scene.
To help you get an idea of what to expect, I’ve shared Jason’s letter here (unedited) for your reading pleasure. Check it out. I’m sure it will answer many questions and get you hyped for both events as they approach in the coming months.
Begin: Letter from Jason
Well it probably isn’t morning where you are but it is here in China where I am (more details coming from this trip!). 5:30am Tuesday to be exact (jet lag is a biaatch)
I used to write personal emails back in the day (albeit long) explaining allll the details and it’s been a few years so I wanted to write a personalized note about Groove Island Sept 27-30 as this is the most immersive and creative project we’ve ever undertaken. How it came to be, how it’s going to be the same and different from Groove Cruise and what it’s going to be like.
Also quickly wanted to note (in case you don’t read all the way) that prices are going up on June 21st and we have a special promotion for only you GCFAM, offering you 10% discount on our 3 Day Accommodation Packages. This offer is valid unil Friday June 21st, reach out to our Captain Support team to take advantage of this. As you should know also that prices only go up as it gets close to any Whet Travel experience. We have a low price guarantee to prove this and give confidence that when you book you always pay the lowest price. Now on to the goods…..
WHERE IT ALL STARTED:
As many of you know Groove Cruise sailed to Catalina in 13/14/15 and for many people it was the best place we had ever sailed to. To me I can’t think of a more beautiful island on our entire planet that is in such proximity to a large city. I laugh at the amount of people I talk to who live In LA/OC or SD that have never been just 20 miles off the coast to paradise. It’s in LA County but it’s unlike anywhere in LA or the United States or the world for that matter (20 species of animals and plants are found nowhere else on earth). Some people of course go there all the time and are beyond excited for something so unique and cool like Groove Island to get them back to have a great time.
I absolutely fell in love with Catalina when I first went there. The problem is that it was such a tease as we barely scratched the surface of what Catalina is. The beauty, the history, the nature, the food, the activities, the people, etc. A few hours was never enough. So it has been a dream of mine to do a 3 day experience on Catalina. With cruise lines drastically increasing their pricing and not having any viable west coast cruise options for 2019 (we are working on GC west 2020). I went to the Catalina Island Company (who owns all the main venues) with the idea and after many months of back and forth the project went forward.
Leading up to the project being approved, the biggest naysayers were a handful of GCFAM who were rightfully sad that GC west isn’t happening this year and locals who are mainly concerned with dress code in their city, disrespectful behavior and noise from hotels and AirBNBs. All of these (among their other concerns) we have processes, communications, staff and solutions for and would love any ideas you may have as well. Safety/Security as well which will always always be #1 with anything Whet Travel does and we have been working with local and county officials on the optimal plans for the safest and most fun experience humanly possible.
People also questioned afterhours food and music which we will have both. The music in the main venues (Descanso and the Casino) will end at midnight and then there will be other venues in town that will be starting and going until the late hours. Some are restaurants, bars, private venues and clubs that we will be renting out for Groove Island weekend. Details will be announced soon.
The last couple of weekends I’ve been blessed to have been to Ibiza and Vegas for EDC. Both are absolutely spectacular in their own way. The challenge they have is that they are soo expensive and logistically challenging sometimes taking hours to get to places. At Groove Island everything is a 15 minute walk (or 10 minute included golf cart if you stay in Hamilton cove). We also have shuttles in the works as well 🙂 No other festival except cruise ships and resort fests offers everything so close to the music and parties. This causes closer interaction, which builds community and relationships which if you have ever traveled with us is EVERYTHING. Fam and community is the core. The Captains. YOU. Actually now that I’m thinking of it even the activities like zip line, escape rooms, snorkeling, boat tours and EVERYTHING is all right there in Avalon! Not even a resort or ship can boast that. And the price starts around 497 per person INCLUDING your hotel, round trip ferry and tickets to the fest?! That’s crazy talk for a fest, transfers and accommodations tbh and the prices are going up tomorrow and will continue to go up as things sell out which several categories and hotels already have.
HOW GROOVE ISLAND IS GOING TO BE SIMILAR TO GROOVE CRUISE:
- Food avail 24/7
- Artist Fan activities such as an artist hosted golf tournament on the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi.
- The community of loving, family oriented, respectful, caring people looking out for one another keeping everyone having fun.
- Safety / Security will be paramount
- Music: Most of the artists on the GI lineup have been on GC and understand the community, love and vibes that have been created over the years.
- Whet Oasis chill space
- Multiple venues throughout both (around 7-9 each)
- Great service and VIP options
HOW GROOVE ISLAND IS GOING TO BE BETTER THAN GROOVE CRUISE:
- Fly in on a friggin helicopter for $129?!
- Pull a boat/yacht right up to the festival?! NOWHERE else in the WORLD can you do this except maybe Croatia.
- Activities: such as zip lining right into the beach party?!
- Excursions: Maybe go big game fishing for marlin or tuna since it was invented in Catalina? Scuba diving is world class
- History: Did you know Marilyn Monroe lived on the island (bunch of others as well), the Chicago Cubs had spring training there and the theatre was the first to show a movie with sound in the world?! It’s kinda crazy!
- Local food (sand dabs anyone?!)
- Camping option
- Local culture
- No CBP/Customs/Immigration as not leaving the country
- No passport or birth certificate needed
- Medical facilities on the island
- More options for places to stay (boat/Yacht, camping, hotel and AirBNB)
- 20 built in Permanent Cabanas for the best Table experience we have ever offered
- VIP Program with its own bar, bathrooms and some food and drinks included.
- Chaise lounges
- Bring your own alcohol and pre-post game in your room while getting ready or hanging with friends overlooking the mountains and ocean.
How is Groove Cruise better than Groove Island?
- 96 Hours of non stop music
- Bedroom and food are a 3-5 minute walk vs up to 15 on Catalina.
- 15 years and 31 sailings it has a long standing global brand and community of GCFAM it has developed.
- Alcohol served past 2am
The interesting thing about Groove Island behind the scenes is that it’s allowed us to really let the creative juices flow vs being restricted on a ship. We have sooo many cool ideas, concepts, hosts, parties and even more activities, comedians, shows and artists that we are working on that will be announced verrry soon. It’s an evolving gigantic jigsaw puzzle that is going to turn into a gorgeous masterpiece unlike anything this world has seen.
If you have any doubts or questions, please reach out to let us know so we can ease your concerns. Looking forward to seeing you all on Catalina Island!
End: Letter from Jason