Holy Ship! Wrecked delivers on float-free party promise [Review] – Dancing Astronaut
Over the last eight years, Holy Ship! has established itself as one of the premiere parties on the seas. The cruise ship festival has drawn thousands time and time again for a raucous time on the high seas. But in 2020, the festival remained on shores for the first time in its young history. Rebranded Holy Ship! Wrecked, the latest iteration left the cruise format behind in favor of setting up shop at the Hard Rock Resort & Casino in Punta Cana, directly on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic.
The big question heading into the festivities was clear: How would new digs at the Hard Rock compare to the proven successes of the cruise? In short, Holy Ship! Wrecked maintained their brand ethos while improving nearly every amenity the ship had to offer.
First things first, the Hard Rock resort is nothing short of immaculate. The grounds stretch in from the pristine beach for acres and acres, with everything from a golf course to a spa available to guests. Staff at the resort maintained staunch standards of courtesy and service, even when ravers ordered food at 4 am smelling like booze and sweat. Waiters perused the dance floors taking drink orders, a dangerously sweet convenience that contributed to many hectic nights.
Picking long time ship-goers’ brains proffered two main areas of approval of Hard Rock versus its seafaring precursor. First, the cruise’s relatively small room size was traded in for spacious suites complete with patios and hot tubs. Many attendees said in past years they tolerated the cruise bedrooms, but now they thoroughly enjoyed their accommodations. Second, Hard Rock’s wide variety of excellent quality food was a big step up from previous years. The all-inclusive ticket meant untapped access to droves of delicious food, a hugely important feature when dancing the days and nights away.
There was also emphatic satisfaction with many artists delivering multiple sets over the four-day experience. One of the biggest problems at festivals is the fear of missing out (FOMO) that comes with making the tough call between two favorite acts playing at the same time. Fortunately, artists’ sets were amply nuanced from day to day, making the lineup feel even deeper than it was. If you loved Jai Wolf’s The Cure To Loneliness set on the main stage, but not enough to opt into an identical performance twice in one week, you could find him doing a drastically different DJ set by the pool later on.
Throughout the festival, the tone was definitively set on a party mentality. The house-heavy lineup kept the mood light and the feet shuffling throughout, while the headbangers got their fair share of bass and trap DJs as well. A few artists with deting styles were sprinkled in to give a reprieve from the four-on-the-floor rhythms, including the live instrumentation and singing of Big Wild and Madeon’s resplendent DJ set. Lane 8‘s Brightest Lights set at the main stage was another highlight on the week, a wildly successful performance ahead of his promising tour.