Since it first set sail in early 2012, Holy Ship! has been a glittering fixture in the lives of traveling dance music enthusiasts and festival-goers worldwide. With good reason, too. Despite its intimate size, the 4,000-person cruise-wrapped-in-a-music-festival brought “shipfam” from more than 30 different countries together to party.
The success of Holy Ship! isn’t a huge surprise to those who know how it all began. Gary Richards, who is accredited with the invention of Electric Daisy Carnival and goes by the onstage moniker Destruco, originally founded and ran the event. Then, in 2017, Meagen DesChenes’ legendary all-women crew at HARD Events (who had been supporting Richards since the inception of the event) took over production in partnership with Cloud9 Adventures and The Bowery. With DesChenes at the helm, the splash got bigger. In fact, word spread quickly about the limited-capacity boat party-music festival making waves in picturesque tourist meccas like the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
For 2021, the event drops its proverbial anchor in Mexico’s illustrious Maya Riviera. From the 3rd to the 7th of December, music fans will enjoy an all-inclusive takeover of the iconic Hard Rock Hotel where they’ll party with shimmering on-stage stars like Alison Wonderland, Charlotte de Witte, Chris Lake, Madeon (DJ Set), Marc Rebillet, Nora En Pure, Seth Troxler, Subtronics, and ZHU, among others. To make the moments even more memorable, the organizers will continue their signature tradition of arranging activities, games, and other shenanigans with the DJs, so fans can rub elbows with their heroes in the wildest ways. This year, for instance, music fans can enter to win a “Master of the Universe” pageant with Desert Hearts; get DJ lessons with heavyweight turntablist A-trak; or be simultaneously fed and entertained at Marc Rebillet’s insanely energizing Brunch Cook-Off.
Are you one of the lucky ones who have joined in the onboard debauchery at Holy Ship over the years? If so, the photos ahead will be a nostalgic set of dance steps down memory lane. If not, here’s a chance to get a glimpse at what you’ve been missing — because while Holy Ship! Wrecked is sold out, there’s still a wait list!