Anatomy of a Theme Cruise – Planning a Rock Festival at Sea

The first floating “rock festival for a cause” aboard Royal Caribbean International’s mega-ship, Liberty of the Seas, sailed December 1, 2011 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The full cruise ship charter rocked the seas with 21 classic rock bands and 3,000 ardent fans during a four-night cruise to the Bahamas.

Rock Legends Theme Cruise on Liberty of the SeasImagine a 4-day music fest with legendary rockers like ZZ Top, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and over a dozen other classic rock bands. Now picture the fundraiser concert taking place on a fabulous cruise ship with intimate performance venues and “under the stars” on deck. Music fans and their favorite bands rocked the waves day and night during the first-ever Rock Legends Cruise that kicked off December 1, 2011 aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas. . Little did they know what went on behind the scenes to pull it all off.

The Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) contacted Landry & Kling in November 2010 with an idea for a springtime event – a floating benefit concert with proceeds to provide emergency assistance and self-help programs to Sioux Native Americans. Our VP of Business Development, Karyn Altman, advised NAHA to plan the concert for a later date. As a seasoned cruise event specialist, Karyn knew that with more lead time, the concert could be heavily promoted to ensure a full ship.

Next, Landry & Kling’s sales support team jumped into action to source the ocean-going venue. Royal Caribbean’s 3,200-passenger Liberty of the Seas was the perfect fit for a full cruise ship charter, with multiple music and entertainment venues, an array of dining outlets, and unique recreational facilities.

Landry & Kling worked closely with NAHA, providing turn-key services for this special interest cruise including planning the daily program, staging logistics, website creation and attendee registration management. Landry & Kling’s technical team handled online registration, and the marketing team assisted with press releases, social media and the production of TV and radio commercials.

“Landry & Kling provided us with invaluable guidance,” said Pamela J. Myers, NAHA’s executive vice president. “While others told us our vision was too big, Landry & Kling helped us through each challenge to launch this outrageous fundraiser-festival at sea.”

Traffic to the Rock Legends website grew steadily, and the historic “concert for a cause” sold out quickly. During the planning phase, L&K Operations Team met with the concert production team onboard the Liberty of the Seas to discuss music venues, timing, and stage and lighting setups for all bands. They also discussed what equipment would or would not work in each ship venue.

At 7:30 a.m. on embarkation day, NAHA had 72 pallets of stage equipment on trucks standing by for unloading. After the ship was cleared by Custom nearly three hours later, a 20-story crane began lifting cages of amps, curtains, light trees and cables from the pier to the top deck, where technicians were building a sound stage.

Our onsite team of 15 went to work, coordinating with the production crew and cruise staff to make sure all events ran smoothly. And the rest, as they say, would go down in history as the biggest-ever rock festival at sea  – a smash hit with 21 legendary bands performing round-the-clock. As the concert drew to an end, ecstatic fans only had one question: “When is the next Rock Legends Cruise?”

Rock Legends II Cruise

Based on the overwhelming success of the first Rock Legends Cruise, NAHA contacted Landry & Kling to help organize and promote Rock Legends II Cruise. The four-night “festival for a cause” cruise ship charter on Liberty of the Seas will set sail January 10, 2013, and feature 25 legendary rock bands. This time, fans and rock performers will sail to Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private Caribbean island experience.

As during the first Rock Legends Cruise, all artists will perform 2-3 shows in various venues, festival style. This format will allow fans to come and go between venues to see different bands.

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