Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

Get able to “seas” the brand new 12 months. 

In January Destructo and mates will as soon as once more hit the deck for Friendship, the beloved floating pageant. And in accordance with the famend music government, promoter, DJ and pageant founder, whose actual title is Gary Richards, this 12 months’s ship is twice the dimensions of the vessel they’d final 12 months—giving massive deck power.

Friendship 2024 will set sail out of Miami on January sixth, taking the sea-nic route round Cuba to Belize for a 24-hour non-public island celebration earlier than docking again in Florida on the eleventh. 

The route map for Friendship 2024, cruising from January 6-11.

c/o Press

With meticulously curated programming all through the 5 days, Friendship 2024 will characteristic headlining performances from the likes of Bob Moses, Boys Noize, Chris Lake, Chris Lorenzo, Dr. Fresch, Mr. Carmack and Rusko, amongst others. In the meantime, digital music icon Skrillex been confirmed to carry out an “unique” set on Belize’s Harvest Caye.

“Simply consider a 24-hour seaside celebration with 4,000 of your greatest mates and Skrillex,” Richards tells EDM.com.

Forward of this 12 months’s pageant, we caught up with Richards to speak a-boat what makes a cruise ship the quintessential setting for a pageant in addition to Friendship’s one-of-a-kind programming and what to anticipate on the hotly anticipated island overnighter.


EDM.com: Following your efforts with Holy Ship! you pivoted in your profession, however you continued to pursue your ardour of curating a floating pageant. For somebody who has by no means been on a cruise, what makes a ship the quintessential setting for a celebration?

Gary Richards: It truly is the proper place for a mini pageant. While you go to Shambhala, you go to Coachella, you go to those festivals they’re wonderful however you understand there is not any working water, there is not any eating places, there’s nowhere to go to the lavatory, it’s form of soiled. That’s enjoyable and all however with the ability to have all of these facilities connected to the celebration is simply nice.

You may be on the dance flooring at like three o’clock within the morning after which if you wish to return to your room and take a bathe and alter your garments you are able to do that immediately. For those who’re hungry, there’s meals, there’s 20 eating places, issues are taking place 24 hours a day. It truly is the proper place to have a mini pageant and every thing is inside strolling distance. 

You realize, the ship is fairly massive and so that you’ll be placing on miles for the 5 nights, however every thing is in vary. You do not have to drive wherever. I’ve been a pageant promoter for many of my life and just about the entire logistics of what makes a pageant depressing are taken out of the best way.

Exterior of the Norwegian Pleasure.

c/o Press

And then you definately’re on this wonderful $500 million cruise ship that we’re so lucky that they allow us to even take it over. I get to take over the entire thing… While you’re strolling down the hallway, the music that you just hear, I programmed it. While you activate the television in your room, I programmed it. All the pieces in there, I get to program for 5 days. 

It’s fairly wild that they permit that and we all know methods to do it fairly nicely. 

EDM.com: Friendship launched into its maiden voyage in 2018, promoting out in simply two days. What units this floating pageant aside from the others?

Gary Richards: Effectively, for one, we’re on this new ship known as the Pleasure. The Pleasure is certainly the largest ship that I’ve ever produced. It has essentially the most facilities. It has a go-kart observe on the highest, it’s obtained waterslides—I imply most of them have waterslides. Once I went on it, I used to be scared to even go on it as a result of one of many slides goes over the facet of the ship like a loop and it has a door on the facet as a result of generally folks get caught.

The waterslide on the Norwegian Pleasure.

c/o Press

However the factor that makes this Friendship the very best of all of the ships that I’ve ever achieved, or at the least what I’ve conjured up in my thoughts is after I went on a cruise in 1997, from Miami to the Bahamas and there have been like 400 techno folks from Germany. I do not know the way I obtained on there, it was sponsored by Camel cigarettes, and we went to this island they usually allow us to keep on the island in a single day. In my thoughts, I used to be at all times like, “If I might ever recreate this vibe I’d.”

And so in the entire years that I’ve been doing it, we go to islands and we get the island to ourselves and we are able to have a celebration there, however you at all times have to go away at 4 p.m. as a result of you may’t actually shuffle folks backwards and forwards in the dead of night on an island with the boat, it is only a security difficulty.

So this island that we will in Belize, it has a dock and has lights and we’re allowed to park there in a single day. So once we get to Harvest Caye, Belize, we pull in at like 9 a.m. and we’re allowed to remain until 9 a.m. the following day. So we’ve got a sundown and a dawn on the island. The lineup on the island is Chris Lake, Skrillex, Bob Moses, Justin Martin, me–I will do the dawn. It’s the primary time I get to have an evening celebration into the day on the island. I believe it’ll be the factor that everyone’s like, “Holy shit, that simply took it up 10 notches.”

Harvest Caye, a non-public island in Belize owned by Norwegian Cruise Line.

c/o Press

EDM.com: That’s undoubtedly remarkable. Are folks nonetheless sleeping on the ship?

Gary Richards: Yep. You’ll be able to simply return to the ship if you wish to eat or bathe after which come again. It’s a little bit little bit of a stroll from the place the boat is docked to the place the levels will probably be on the island, however not too far. Consider the ship as like a floating resort.

EDM.com: Will there be something taking place on the ship in the course of the island celebration?

Gary Richards: No, there won’t be any music on the ship that day. 

I’ve thought of it lengthy and laborious and I actually need all people to be within the one part on the island. I’m going to have two sound techniques, however I’m solely going to have one DJ enjoying [at a time] all through the entire island. I’m not going to interrupt it up into various things so while you stroll round, everyone seems to be listening to the identical factor the entire time. 

EDM.com: Are you able to inform us a bit extra about what you could have in retailer for this island celebration? Paint us an image.

Harvest Caye, a non-public island in Belize owned by Norwegian Cruise Line.

c/o Press

Gary Richards: There’s a lighthouse there. The stage goes to be subsequent to the lighthouse, and I’m engaged on a construct of those portals to denounce the dancefloor space. While you get off the ship, we’re going to have music across the pool at first. The pool is large! After which arrange the stage within the again after which transfer folks to the again.

There’s non-public villas on the island, loads of meals, however principally simply consider a 24-hour seaside celebration with 4,000 of your greatest mates and Skrillex.

DJ Soup–he builds the Pagoda [at Shambhala], that is his stage–goes to assist me with a number of the manufacturing on this island. You know the way the Pagoda has the visuals? So we’re going to do this on the lighthouse–as a result of it is enormous and it is white.

EDM.com: After final 12 months’s “shock lineup,” this time round attendees have over 5 months to familiarize themselves with the artists. Whereas most of the names are well-known, there are some up-and-comers. Are there any must-see standouts? 

Gary Richards: Yeah! There’s a variety of them. Proper now I am on this Afro-house tip, so from Africa we’ve obtained Vigro Deep, Solar-El Musician, Enoo Napa and Da Capo. I’m actually hyped on these 4.

Patrick Mason is certainly one which you must try. I noticed him on Instagram and he have to be an expert dancer. He has the very best strikes of anybody I’ve ever seen in my life–like DJing–he’s wild. I could not even attempt to emulate it. He’s from Berlin, or he performs in Berlin the entire time, so I requested Boys Noize, “Who is that this Patrick Mason man?” And he was like, “Oh, if you will get him, get him.” I used to be simply watching him play in movies and now persons are beginning to see so I’m actually excited. 

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VTSS is one other one. It’s cool that Boys Noize, Alex, is certainly one of my true mates and he at all times throws me like, “You gotta get this, you gotta get that…” He lives in Portugal, and so he has a unique perspective on music than the standard American EDM folks. There’s this entire sound in Europe that’s completely different and so I gave him his personal space. So VTS is a part of that, Patrick Mason, Raven, additionally Security Trance.

Then, within the bass world, I’m actually hyped on Nitepunk, G-REX, Mersiv. That’s probably not my sound–I like that music, I do not DJ it–so when folks counsel issues, I’ve actually been listening to their music. I believe they’re arising like new hearth in that world.

Nala is fairly cool. We even have Sin & Brook, they’re from New Zealand. I attempt to get folks from all around the globe. I believe that a variety of occasions folks simply go, “Alright nicely we gotta e book a pageant so let’s simply get the names which can be going to promote the tickets.” However I’m making an attempt to offer folks a five-day vacation with attention-grabbing, distinctive vibes, not simply the identical shit that you just’re seeing the entire time.

We’ve Todd Edwards too. He’s made a variety of data with Daft Punk. He has been DJing for about so long as me, so he’s a legend.

The 2024 FriendShip lineup options Skrillex, Chris Lake, Boys Noize, Bob Moses, Dita Von Teese and extra.

c/o Press

EDM.com: Do the headliners and performers keep all through the period of the cruise?

Gary Richards: Sure. That’s form of my stipulation. I let Skrillex slide as a result of he didn’t wish to keep the entire time. However everybody else, I really feel like in the event you don’t wish to keep the entire time, it’s most likely not for you. As a result of that’s what actually makes it. The followers wish to hangout with the artists.

I give the very best rooms on the ship to the artists and I attempt to give the artists the time of their life as nicely… I’ve had a variety of artists meet one another. You realize the singer for RÜFÜS DU SOL? He met his spouse on certainly one of my ships. On the final ship, David Loy who’s an expert skater, he began going out with Raven.

I need everybody to remain. That’s what makes it far more particular. 

I’m simply making an attempt to create that neighborhood, that togetherness… Once we sail away, I inform all people that that is that one occasion the place if somebody’s DJing, crash their set. We’re not enjoying Extremely and there’s 100,000 folks right here, in the event you really feel such as you wish to rip somebody’s USB out and put yours in, do it! Make it enjoyable.

That is the one place the place you may simply be goofy and no ones going to care. They’ll prefer it extra. I believe I form of helped set the tone. I do not attempt to take it so critically, let everybody simply have enjoyable. If somebody from the viewers needs to come back up, bounce in!

Destructo acting at Friendship pageant.

Jason Fenmore/Oh Dag Yo

EDM.com: With that in thoughts, and a number of other iterations underneath your belt, are you able to share just a few core recollections that you’ve got made whereas on board Friendship?

Gary Richards: There’s simply so many.

On the final one, we had a theme night time that was 90s membership children and I performed a set of all music from 1991. And after I performed that Boys Noize and Dita Von Teese had been there and Mr. Kool Support–who I did events with within the 90s–and Ty Dolla $ign and that set was actually particular to me to be enjoying the data that I first heard after I obtained into this music.

I imply, undoubtedly on the primary Friendship having RÜFÜS DU SOL. That was form of just like the final hurrah earlier than they obtained huge. They had been on a tour and I bear in mind they mentioned that they wished to be the headliner they usually wished like 20 cabins as they had been going to finish their tour on the ship and have an enormous celebration. And I used to be like, “Yeah, in fact.” 

Then they launched the “No Place” music. I booked them and like a month later the music got here out and I used to be like, “You gotta be kidding me,” as a result of the music and the lyrics are excellent for the ship: “There’s no place I’d fairly be.” That form of turned like a theme of the ship. 

EDM.com: Are you able to inform us extra about Dial-A-DJ?

Dial-A-DJ cellular celebration. 

Drew Ressler/Rukes

Gary Richards: Dial-A-DJ is that this loopy idea that we got here up with that’s form of like room service, however for a DJ. I handed out these random playing cards to folks and certainly one of my bookers has like a ship cellphone and in the event you name the quantity you may order a DJ to your room.

We began sending Boys Noize and Bob Moses and Busy P and the entire sudden we’ve got these headliners going to peoples rooms and DJing. Folks had been like dropping their minds. It was actually cool. It will get form of crowded although in peoples rooms and so we needed to transfer to the hallways. We’ve these carts that transfer round so we are able to play within the elevators and we are able to transfer round and have cellular events always. 

EDM.com: With the Friendship Professional Skate Staff, Reside Comedy and Shipteese offered by the “Queen of Friendship” Dita Von Teese, it’s clear that that is no extraordinary pageant. Are you able to inform us extra about these different efficiency choices?

Gary Richards: Dita–she’s Shipteese–and I’ve been mates since we had been like 18. She loves occurring cruises and he or she’s been part of it like each time, even again on Holy Ship!. Every cruise ship has a theatre and I wished to make use of it as an actual theatre as an alternative of one other membership.

Dita Von Teese.

Jason Fenmore/Oh Dag Yo

What goes on within the theatre? There’s a present: Magic, burlesque, comedy.

In order that’s the way it began. It’s laborious for me as a result of I like comedy, however I do not perceive how comedians get booked after which they suppose “okay it is 5 nights” after which they wish to receives a commission. The DJs perceive, however comedians don’t actually know who I’m. They’re identical to “oh, that’s the rave cruise.” I attempt to e book folks which can be going to benefit from the occasion. 

I don’t need anyone sitting of their cabin. So for the comedians I’m like “do you want to bounce? Are you able to do a comedy routine the place you make enjoyable of us?” It has to narrate to the occasion someway. I am unable to simply throw a bunch of random folks into the ship.

The skate boarders, I skateboard. I constructed a little bit ramp in my yard and my son and I–he’s 15– we skate collectively. And he advised me sooner or later “hey dad, I believe this man David Lloyd listens to your music.” and I used to be like “what do you imply?” After which I checked out his Instagram and he was posting a few of my music and my mates’ music. We met up on the skate park and I requested him if he wished to come back and skate.

The skatepark at Friendship pageant.

Jason Fenmore/Oh Dag Yo

Dita brings an entire crew along with her as nicely. She brings the attractive Russian fashions, the little folks, after which she has this man named Lazel and he’s unbelievable. He strips with a leg… They know methods to do it, they do it actually tastefully. It’s not like a raunchy factor.

You’ll exit to one of many venues on the celebration, and also you’ll see her and the crew and David and Erin, all simply having enjoyable. The folks make the celebration. 

EDM.com: Apart from the performances, Friendship additionally affords an abundance of thrilling actions to foster lasting connections amongst shipmates resembling yoga, go-karting, pace relationship and extra. In your opinion is that this pageant one thing for solo travellers to take pleasure in too?

Gary Richards: Oh yeah! You’re going to fulfill all people. And all people is de facto welcoming. That’s the very best a part of the entire thing. Everyone that goes is so welcoming to all people else. Anyplace on the earth that I am going, there may be some sort of Ship Fam someplace.

A gaggle of mates at Friendship pageant.

Jason Fenmore/Oh Dag Yo

It’s this loopy neighborhood that we constructed. I by no means even considered that a part of it. I simply thought, “I can put all this nice music in a single place and we’ve got this nice venue to celebration,” however the those who went on the primary one they only melded collectively and created this neighborhood that’s method larger than something I might have ever envisioned coming from an occasion. And it’s actual.

These folks actually love one another. And in the event you’re new, in the event you’re a virgin, they’ll bounce you within the gang no downside. Everyone is comfortable to welcome new folks.


On the time of writing, Friendship 2024 is over 90% sold-out. For extra info and tickets, navigate to the official web site right here.

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