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Dancing Astronaut Does Holy Ship!: Ten Sun Soaked Moments

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Dancing Astronaut Does Holy Ship!: Ten Sun Soaked Moments

This year, Christmas morning was just a tad bit sweeter. While kicking back and spending time with family and friends, Holy Ship! surprised its Shipfam with one of the greatest gifts of all – its January schedule. With each day jam-packed from 11am until around 6am the following morning, many accepted the daily challenge of a full 17 hours of partying. Some prevailed, while most paced themselves by resting their minds and bodies in between acts like Flume, Gorgon City and Pretty Lights.

As dance music continue to grow in popularity, so do the cruises themselves. Holy Ship! is more than simply an annual affair; in adopting the hashtags “shipfam” and “boatswag,” the Ship has evolved into an adoring community filled with zealous artists and even more spirited fans. Having expanded in both size and stature, Holy Ship!’s weekend one sail on the MSC Divina to Half Moon Cay saw a stacked lineup that departed from the all-too-familiar big room house acts. The cruise’s soundtrack leaned deeper than in previous years, but was careful to nod to trap, hip-hop and techno.

HARD’s flagship event invited guests to board a delectable cruise ship and to love the music differently, in a manner that comprised bikinis, crystal clear waters, a scintillating beach and frozen cocktails. Over the course of three glorious days and nights, the Shipfam congregated to explore new artists and to be inspired by some of the globe’s most esteemed electronic music talent – all while set adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. Though lack of cell service and limited access to wifi often posed its challenges, Holy Ship! pushed fans to branch out, care less about becoming separated from their friends, and find themselves lost in the music on their own terms. As did we.

These are the ten moments that defined Dancing Astronaut’s Holy Ship! January 2015 voyage.

Photo courtesy of Rukes

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Flume kicks off the Sail Away Party

Holy Ship!’s ‘Sail Away’ party was special in that it was the only occasion where nearly every member of the Shipfam celebrated as one. Despite heavy winds, the turnout on the 14th floor’s Pool Deck was at its highest during Flume’s opening set as we departed Port of Miami to The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.” With fans flooding in from each crevice of the deck fighting for the best views, it was refreshing to commence Holy Ship! with a seasoned talent as versatile as Harley Streten. “Insane,” “On Top” and his remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court” set the tone for the subsequent 10 hours of partying.

Photo courtesy of Rukes

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Annie Mac presents Brits on Board

As one of the newest additions to 2015’s Holy Ship!, electronic music pioneer Annie Mac hosted her own ‘Brits Aboard’ stage Saturday night featuring Doorly, Hannah Wants, Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Maya Jane Coles, Kidnap Kid and of course, herself. Taking place in the Black & White Lounge, a handful of the UK’s most revered artists took turns spinning in the dark, enclosed space. A humble crowd and less competitive bar area made for an optimum experience in which fans, clad in brightly-lit LED accoutrements, could dance themselves into an oblivion and feel the cutting basslines from head to toe.

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake

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Armand Van Helden spins B2B with Disclosure

Holy Ship! completely changed the meaning of Sunday Funday when we arrived at Half Moon Cay. Perhaps the most highly-anticipated party of the excursion was its signature ‘Private Island’ party with sounds by Busy P, Duke Dumont, Flume and Armand Van Helden. The wait to exit the ship could be as long as several hours but for good reason: Guy Lawrence of Disclosure served as the festival cruise’s special guest throughout the voyage. Thousands of beach-ready festival goers danced in the pristine sands and cooling waters as Guy and Armand championed a B2B set atop a pirate ship-themed DJ booth. In providing the right dose of warm, upbeat house amidst a chilled-out crowd, the periodic cloudiness barely left a dent on our private island getaway.

Photo courtesy of Rukes

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Gina Turner leads yoga on the beach

Each year since its inception, Gina Turner has led yoga classes for those in need of rest and relaxation to offset the intensity of Holy Ship!’s non-stop party ideology. Taught in an intimate group setting sectioned off from the more strenuous festivities, participants lying on orange towels courtesy of MSC Divina instilled a more tranquil feel to Half Moon Cay.

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake

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Gorgon City and Kidnap Kid host cocktail hour poolside style

By nightfall on day two of Holy Ship!, Black Butter mates Gorgon City and Kidnap Kid immersed themselves in a mellow, hundred-strong crowd during their ‘History of UK House’ showcase. In taking a step back from Fool’s Gold’s and BNR & Friends’ parties going down elsewhere on the ship, the pair dished up a bumping deep house set before the Zen Pool and Garden Bar. Beneath a heavy sky and a dazzling full moon, fans huddled around the pool as they grooved to the trailblazing duo’s breezy beats and got schooled on house music’s roots.

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake

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Crowds surge at Odesza

Seattle collective Odesza began gaining momentum with their most recent studio album, In Return – a well-rounded compilation of infectious singalongs like “Say My Name,” “It’s Only” and “Sun Models.” Slotted in between Branchez and A-Trak on the pool deck, Harrison and Clayton garnered a considerable crowd, revitalizing our senses as they paired live instrumentals with “iPlayYouListen” and “Memories That You Call.” Colossal lasers spanning from both ends of the ship and vivd strobes played up the cunning aesthetics of Odesza’s visual and musical performance, adding more than a few supporters to their burgeoning fan base.

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake

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Boys Noize and Jimmy Edgar team up

BNR made a solid return to Holy Ship!, this year starring Teki Latex, DJ Falcon, Desructo, Spank Rock, Boys Noize, Jimmy Edgar and Djedjotronic. Having undergone a transformation since Annie Mac’s ‘Brits Aboard’ the previous evening, the Black & White Lounge tipped its hat to techno and acid house aficionados as Jimmy Edgar and Boys Noize delivered an impromptu set during the former’s time slot. Perhaps the cruise’s best kept secret, the duo’s stealthy performance arrived as the perfect opportunity to strut their stuff in the company of the most devoted of fans.

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake

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The Sermon doesn't stop until 8:30am

Even when balancing HARD and Destructo, two of Gary Richards’ pride and joys, the man responsible for Holy Ship! still set aside three generous hours to perform his famed “The Sermon” set. Initially scheduled to take place at the Zen Pool from 5:30 until 8:30am, Richards’s set was moved indoors to the Galaxy Disco due to unsuitable weather conditions. Though, that didn’t stop hundreds of delirious fans from piling up the 16th floor staircase where Destructo stood tall as the sun began to rise.

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake

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Guy of Disclosure shares a slice with Justin Martin

Just minutes after spectators finished swooning over Justin Martin’s remix of “Stay,” Guy of Disclosure entered the scene for an unplanned, back-to-back set. Both donning white “Dirtybird Shipfam” tee-shirts, the duo’s seamless partnership bridged their opposing tastes; think Renato Cohen’s “Suddenly Funk” and Antonio Eudi & Volkoder’s “That Bass.” And then there was pizza. Little did we know that waiting by Justin and Guy’s feet were two slices of pizza, which the latter proudly presented to the crowd before hugging it out and sharing a bite on stage. Shortly after, Martin entered the pit pouring shots of Ketel One into fans’ thirsty mouths as they clamored around the beloved Dirtybird representative.

Photo courtesy of Rukes

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Pretty Lights closes out

Praised early on in his career for his outstanding live performances, it came as no surprise that kingpin of electronic music Pretty Lights was one of three artists chosen to close out Holy Ship!. The Pantheon Theater overflowed with a sea of passionate fighters, though it was evident that most couldn’t wait to hit their pillows for the first time in three days. The strong stood and cheered while the weak admired from their red velvety chairs; regardless of who you were, none in attendance could deny the magnificence that was Derek Smith’s light show. For a cruise ship, Pretty Lights’ production reigned supreme as he assaulted the senses with “One Day They’ll Know” and “Let The World Hurry By.”

Photo courtesy of Erik Voake