Cloud 9 press

Jam Cruise 9 | Review | Pics

JAMBASE - January 15, 2011

Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship
Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip
Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship
On your way to a world that others might have missed

It’s not uncommon for people to dream about Jam Cruise once they’ve attended it once. Our lives are largely made up of small movements and reliable routines and Jam Cruise is a grand scale experience, a bold and evolving vision that takes one, literally and figuratively, out of the norm and into magic, revelatory spaces. It is a music festival but that sells short the potential of this journey. It hits you as the anchor rises and the first notes slam into you that there’s something profoundly different about a festival that goes places rather than everyone settling into their tents in a stable environment. In just this basic sense, Jam Cruise is another animal from Bonnaroo, High Sierra, etc. The notion of being on an adventure is palpable as the city lights and shoreline drop away and all that’s left are the waves, open sky and the wondrous community that springs up on the ship – a shared dream with myriad faces brought to happy fruition.

All this dreaming becomes manifest even before folks have gotten on the ship, itself a massive floating city full of more nooks & crannies than anyone could possibly explore. Strangers whip up Bloody Marys at the port while people compare costumes and trade stories of cruises past. Newcomers are welcomed with open arms and gently guided through the ins & outs of Jam Cruising. Even though this was only my second time aboard, I found myself eager to make newbies feel at home and do what I could to build their confidence, and this inclination seems the rule for the veterans, who all seem to understand how unique and special Jam Cruise is. Music is the common thread that brings everyone to the ship, but there’s something deeper afoot.

Where we might never speak to our neighbors at home, we immediately join together as a community and that sense only grows over the five days at sea. One is encouraged to pull as much pleasure and joy as they can from the trip and this goes beyond a mere “good time.” What I’ve experienced and seen happen in many others is the filters and masks we employ out of necessity in the “real world” drop away and one is revealed as they truly are. The conversations, often with folks we’ve met only moments before, dip into every corner of our lives and are met with a compassion and gentle wisdom that simply floors me. Walking around one is greeted with smiles and high-fives, a jovial, living Namaste that warms one to the core over time. The world at home, with rare exceptions, is not nearly so congenial.

It’s incredibly potent and revitalizing to see hundreds of people at perhaps the happiest they will be all year long – and to know at different spots around the ship the same scene is unfolding with different groups. The musicians, too, for the most part dig a bit deeper and open themselves up to this vibe, making themselves available in a way they might avoid elsewhere, and reveling in their own adventures – visiting foreign soil, playing with up & comers and legends, and generally rediscovering why they chose this life in the first place. Taken together, there is SO much positive energy, good will and creativity afloat on Jam Cruise that one’s faith in humanity’s potential is rekindled a bit. If we can do this then why not other great and beautiful and nourishing things?

To continue reading a day-by-day recap of Jam Cruise 9, click HERE.