Avast, matey! Paramore is gearing up for a return to the ocean blue this weekend, hosting their second Parahoy! festival at sea to date.
The Norwegian Pearl cruise will feature seven bands, live entertainment and activities led by Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Taylor York. The voyage embarks from Miami on March 5th, stops in Cozumel, Mexico, on March 7th, and then returns to Florida on March 9th.
Parahoy! will host 2,200 fans, who are more than ready for the dozens of shows, sights, and soft-serve that will greet them in less than a week’s time.
Joining Paramore on deck to sing some shanties are CHVRCHΞS, X Ambassadors, Lights, New Found Glory (extended honeymoon for newlyweds Chad and Hayley?), mewithoutYou, and Vacationer, with the potential for other special guests. Eli Olsberg and Chris Garcia will board ship as resident comedians for the cruise.
There are several events unique to the Parahoy! experience on tap. There will be a headphone disco, in which guests are given headphones to wear and the freedom to choose tunes to groove to, Paraoke, where chosen fans get to belt Paramore songs for the band, Paraprom, and a belly flop contest. The Norwegian Pearl is also equipped with a casino, bowling alley, spa, fitness centers, pools, and hot-tubs. With a day for adventuring in Mexico there will be no time to be a beach bum.
Parafans lucky enough to sail the seas with their favorite band are governed by a code of conduct. Cruisers are expected to respect band members, who are in fact on vacation too. There is a no photograph or autograph policy, and fans are guided to just say a “hello” or engage in a quick impromptu conversation if they run into their heroes.
Any fan who bought a pre-sale ticket is guaranteed a photo with Paramore after all, and the band does not have time to satisfy everyone’s inner fangirl.
The cost of the trip varies with the style of room and optional “add-on” experiences (alcohol, on-shore excursions, bowling, gambling, fine dining, etc.), which could add up quick. The ship has interior staterooms starting at $475 per person, but for the most luxurious quarters, one must shell out $2,750 per person.
There is also a $225 fee per person to cover taxes and other costs. The gist of the experience is paid for by the room cost, however, including access to every general admission concert.
Parahoy! 2016 is a follow-up to the band’s 2014 maiden voyage from Miami to the Bahamas, which hosted Tegan and Sara, New Found Glory, mewithoutYou, Shiny Toy Guns, and Bad Rabbits. The band is not alone to walk the plank of festivals on the ocean blue. Sixthman, a company that hosts music festivals at sea, including Parahoy! has also presented concert cruises for KISS, Train, John Mayer, and Florida Georgia Line. Sixthman’s main competition in the sea festival industry is Carnival Live, a sector of Carnival cruises, which hosted alternative rock band Weezer in 2014.
This trend is similar to that of destination concerts, a marriage of exotic travel with the concert industry. Country star Luke Bryan has offered a concert vacation experience to fans in Mexico, with guest appearances from big-name country acts. Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa is now successively through its second year, having taken place in January of both 2015 and 2016. Fall Out Boy, Paramore’s matey from their 2014 co-headlining summer venture, Monumentour, attempted to create their own foreign concert excursion with the DCD2 family in 2014.
Shortly after the announcement of Fall Out Boy’s Hydrafest, slated for April 2015 in Mexico, the event was canceled with the intention of rescheduling to a later date. Fans were refunded, but remain disappointed that their emo fantasy excursion would remain a dream.
The opinions I have about Parahoy! and other destination concerts are at odds and depend on what part of me you are asking. From the perspective of a music industry student, music festivals at sea are avant-garde — new to the concert industry. Destination concerts could very well be the future for less-recognized bands who must rely on touring to support their livelihood.
Hosting a sea festival or destination concert would bring in a lot of money for a band. There are many revenue pools to swim in (puns) , including booking, merch, exclusive meet-and-greet opportunities, limited-edition souvenirs… the possibilities are endless. Paramore has capitalized with the concept of Paramore, maximizing their brand through the use of the “para-” prefix in reference to on-ship occurrences. Another plus for the band is the ability to relax in a vacation setting while playing shows over a short span of time.
Such a concentrated event will leave impressions on fans for years, and those who sailed on the first Parahoy! trip are outspoken on how life-altering the trip was for them, guaranteeing future ticket sales by returning year after year. Parahoy! is a tradition the band can carry with them, and taking part in a cruise with fans biannually could provide the band members the chance to tour less and focus on their music and outside projects more.
There is opportunity in alternative forms of touring for those who want to work in the concert industry as well as for bands who want to make a statement, and I am intrigued by the thought of working at sea or internationally on shows.
From the angle of a fan, Parahoy! and similar events seem like an impossible dream. I love Paramore, and having been a dedicated fans for years it sucks that I would have to plunder the seven seas to have the ability to attend Parahoy! That said, the cruise would be a sore subject if I were the Parafan.
The only band that I consider myself a superfan of is Fall Out Boy, and when they announced Hydrafest over the summer prior to my freshman year at college, I was devastated. All I wanted was to experience Fall Out Boy for days on end, it didn’t matter to me that I would be on vacation in Mexico.
I once spent 17 hours queuing for Fall Out Boy as the first person in line for their Today Show concert. I would do anything to go to Hydrafest, but the funds were not there. I was actually happy when the event was cancelled, so the fans that could afford Hydrafest would be deprived the experience just like me. Events of this nature are for the rich kids club, where bottomfeeders like me would have to hustle to be able to go.
I don’t even have a passport, which would further set me back in saving for the festival. In addition to that, I’m not a supporter of paid meet-and-greets for fans because they seem impersonal, awkward, forced, and expensive. I prefer meeting bands after they play a show, when they’re enjoying a drink and the post-show high, wanting nothing more than to meet with the fans who support them.
Right now, as a broke college kid, my priority is attending as many concerts my money can get me to, and not investing in one experience similar in nature to Parahoy!
As a fan, what I like about Parahoy! is that it’s more intense than a festival — it’s a gathering of a specific community of fans to have fun together and share in a life-changing adventure. If I wanted to go on a cruise, I would want to be on the Norwegian Pearl for this particular voyage to be surrounded by like-mined people with a passion for music.
What I enjoyed most about my experience queuing for Fall Out Boy was meeting people from all parts of the world and learning more about myself in the process. The show was only 3 songs long, after all. I feel like I could relive this wink of time on a trip such as Parahoy!
The 2016 cruise is completely booked and, as aforementioned, set to leave shore on March 5th. As a blogger for a website with the ambience of a pirate ship, call me a scallywag if I never get a shot at sailing with the likes of Hayley Williams.