James, here – your faithful OurStage editor and social media coordinator. I’m writing you from atop the Norwegian Peal, a gigantic cruise ship transformed into the 13th annual ROCK BOAT that is currently sailing somewhere near the Bahamas. It’s 85 degrees and cloudy here, but still gorgeous, and we are less than an hour from our third full day of rock and roll. I would have written sooner, but satellite-based Internet is not exactly what you would call a reliable form of communication. Don’t worry though, I’ve been carrying around my camera on all our adventures, and will have plenty to share with you all when I return.
The Rock Boat XIII departed from the Port Of Miami on Sunday night just a short while after the sun had begun to set. Organizers passed out shots of (festival sponsor) Cabo Wabo tequila to everyone of age, and a toast was held to celebrate the beginning of our journey. Later, from the pool deck, (also known as the top floor), attendees watched NEEDTOBREATHE play a full one-hour set while the lights illuminating the Florida coast slowly slipped out of sight.
The first two days were spent on Great Stirrup Cay, a tiny island outfitted with a large, ocean front stage specifically setup for this event. The boat’s 2000+ attendees were taxied from the ship to shore by a fleet of small tender boats, then set free to roam the land, take part in a number of aquatic attractions, eat BBQ, and of course, rock out in the sun. I saw festival hosts Sister Hazel play both full band and acoustic sets, as well as emerging acts like OS favorites Bronze Radio Return, all from the comfort of the ocean (it was way too hot to stand on the beach).