It’s true I’ve gone robe! 4 years straight with my best brah DK and we got our Repeat Offender robes on Jam Cruise this year. Now some may think that that is one pricey piece of clothing but they’d be the ones missing the big picture. Another group may say ” Echo, we thought you were all about the small festival, isn’t JC just the opposite of what you preach?” again those people either can’t count or just don’t want to admit what a good time they are missing. The actual number of attendees is somewhere around 4000 people. So divide that by the 40 or so bands playing on the boat and you cannot find a more intimate setting on earth let alone on water. Here are my top 6 reasons Jam Cruise and Cloud 9 will leave you in awe and coming back for more.

Pantheon Theatre

Number 6. It’s the most affordable festival going for your average ticket holder. Now I know what you’re thinking, how could a festival with headliners such as Umphrey’s McGee, moe., and Les Claypool be the most affordable at $799 for the cheapest ticket? Well lets think about that for a minute and do the math. We will start off with just the basics. 5 nights of festivals vs 2 or 3 at most landlocked events. I can almost hear some of you now “But Echo, that’s still roughly $160 a day. Some festivals are $160 for the whole weekend, you’re crazy!” (Well yes, but thats beside the point and has little to do with my story) Now include all of your food and hotel room expenditures and it gets even better. Then remember you have booked A CRUISE to two exotic ports as well. Lets total that on the low side at $100 per port and our festival, food and cabin are now $599 for 5 nights. Lastly but certainly not leastly all the free beer you will drink from several microbreweries during such events as Brews at Seas, Meet The Brewers, Repeat Offender Party, etc….and you’re looking at about $100 a day for this epic jamboree. Take that Lock’n….bam!

Timmy C Washtub Solo

Number 5. Your experience with the music doesn’t just end with your favorite bands hour long set. Most musicians on the boat will be playing two sets around the boat so if you happen to miss one you will surely get another performance out of them. But not only will your favorite band play the most amazing set you’ve ever seen from them, they will also sit in with bands you thought they had nothing in common with and change your perspective instantly. (did you know Pretty Lights could play the upright base?? I sure didn’t!) there’s even a few chances for us common festival goers to join our favorite musicians and improv with them, either in The Atrium for a solid jam with Anders Beck and company, or at The Spot hosted by Nathan Scott Moore keeping the bluegrass going til dawn. There’s even a Masters Camp at Sea for aspiring musicians that want expert advice and tutoring from their idols.

Brooke and her Doppleganger  #4 you will never have so much fun packing for a festival. In the weeks, even months prior to leaving for Jam Cruise you and your friends will be giggling your way up and down aisles at your local craft, costume, and party stores picking out accessories for your rooms, your door decorations, theme night costumes and much more. There are several Facebook pages and JC forums dedicated solely to these purposes and the unofficial theme nights are usually put to a vote and picked by cruisers themselves. So start thinking of what you want to bring next year now. Have a bag dedicated to Jam Cruise and start filling it with fun shit immediately because…

Low Fives

Numerous tres. (My espanish is impeccable) You will recruit a friend or two just by involving them in your pre Jam Cruise rituals. It is inevitable that upon your return from jam cruise you will talk nonstop about your amazing experiences with anyone within earshot for at least 6 months. (I usually spend the next 6 months talking nonstop about the amazing experiences that are to come) I highly recommend this recruitment tactic, remember the larger your crazy costumed posse the easier it is to be your crazy self. Find a way to unite your group such as name tags, matching t-shirts or even jerseys with nicknames and numbers for your crew.

Best Bartender Ever!“Coolest Bartender Ever!”

# Two. You will meet some of the coolest people on the planet.
It seems that after every festival I go to the friend requests begin to pile up. (please someone friend request me, I’m so lonely… S*** is that thing still on?) Jamcruisers are a special kind of festival goer. Hard to classify, they come from all walks of life, some old some young, folks from all corners of the earth have united here on this boat and are all eating the same super awesome breakfast hash browns. (hey is that Ivan Neville sitting at the table next to us? Don’t look, don’t look… shoot he caught me staring 🙂 ) So talk to everyone you see, tell them what a good time you are having and how much you appreciate the energy they brought to the boat. You may just find yourself having a conversation with Ryan Montbleau and not even know it. *Side note…words do not always come out as intended but they will usually forgive you for your verbal blunders*

Viking Vs Kung Fu                                                                    “Viking vs Kung Fu Master Stumble Contest….I Win!”

Numero uno… (nailed it!) The Music… Obviously! Nowhere else on Earth right now will you hear upwards of 100 hours of live jamming period. That is without counting each bands set individually. That’s just music stacked back to back with very small breaks to take quick cat naps from dawn until 10 or 11 a.m. Whether you are a Deadhead, jazz enthusiast, whether your into electronic, disco or hip-hop, or even if your into phish (shout out to Trey) there’s something for you on the boat. Where else are you going to be able to go see Steve Kimock playing 5 feet from you in the Jazz Bar, turn around and bump into Todd Stoops coming from an intense ninja ping pong battle againts Lettuce? (No-where that’s where) Only on Jam Cruise can you see a tribute to Jerry Garcia in a theater followed up by the father of Chicago House, Mark Farina, spinning in the disco til the sun comes up over the Caribbean. So if bands like Galactic, The Motet, KDTU, and The Word don’t get your blood pumping you’d better call a  priest cause you got no soul.

Metallic nite


When Echo…AKA Whiskey Lurps….AKA Papa “Potato”…..AKA Ol’ 95….isn’t lugging his washtub through customs he patiently watches wheatgrass grow at Panhandle Hydroponics & Homebrewing in West By God Virginia!