GOOOOD MORNING, GROOVE CRUISERS! The inaugural Groove Island is quickly approaching,  September 27-30. The idyllic getaway on the beautiful Catalina Island is an immersive experience featuring world class artists Andrew Rayel, Chus & Ceballos, Mark Knight, Oliver Heldens, Sam Feldt, Shiba San and more.

All of this action goes down at a unique mix of venues that include the sun-drenched Descanso Beach Club (the only California beach where alcohol is permitted!), with blissful ocean views, palm tree lined beaches, and luxury teak chaise lounges, while The Catalina Casino boasts the world’s largest circular ballroom right on the seafront at the entry to the harbor, all finished with stunning art deco style.

Ahead of the debut event, Your EDM caught up with Whet Travel & Groove Cruise founder Jason Beukema to learn more about the experience, the music, and more. Read on below! Limited packages for Groove Island are still available, go here.

What experiences do you have that brought you to create the event?

We’ve previously thrown three parties on Catalina Island as a stop during Groove Cruise, but there are so many unique features on the island that we wanted to return for an entire weekend to share with our fans this special place that so many people aren’t even aware of even though it’s just 22 miles off the California coast!

Tell us about the ethos around the line ups?

With a focus on the best in house, techno, and trance, we’ve invited top DJ/producers and fan favorites such as Andrew Rayel, Chus & Ceballos, Mark Knight, Oliver Heldens, Sam Feldt, Shiba San and more to the island, plus hosted stages by industry leaders DJ MAG, Toolroom, Heldeep, Deep Space, Deep House Brunch, Wicked Paradise, and Anthony Atalla’s label Incorrect Music.

How did you decide on your headliner? Was it a personal choice or driven by who you think is your audience or what?

We have multiple headliners that are bringing the best of their respective genres for the sophisticated electronic music fan who craves more than commercial big room. The attendees, or “Captains” as we call them, help us determine which artists we book.

How much consideration is given to fitting all the acts together, so they make sense from start to finish? Are they assessed as a group like that vs on an individual basis?

Thanks to our partnerships with hosted stages, the lineups are curated based around the vibe of the respective brands and create a journey for the fans on the dancefloor to work them into a groove.

Do you try and think of the setting for the music and thus who might work best in the sun in such a paradise?

Absolutely. There are artists whose music is best during the day and others at night. For example, Anthony Attalla is world-renowned for channeling the environment with his signature sunrise sets.

Tell us about some of the party hosts and why you have got those involved – what do they all offer?

We choose them based on a formula that we have created to work with and add value to our partners. We’re very excited to be teaming up with not only the aforementioned stage hosts, but also an incredible VIP bottle/table service option with the Admiral’s Club, known for creating unique experiences.

Who are you most excited about seeing and why?

That’s a hard question! The great thing about all the artists performing at Groove Island is not only do they bring amazing tunes, but fans get the chance to get up-close-and-personal with their favorite DJs via artist/fan activities like golf and fishing tournaments, beer pong, ziplining, and more!

Are there any young, local, upcoming talents on the line-up that you want to shout out?

We have an undiscovered DJ contest for artists that do not have a manager. They first have mixes voted upon by fans, then the finalist will be chosen from our contest by Andrew Rayel and others on the lineup for a once-in-a-lifetime gig!

Can you tell us about the venues and stages where these people will play; what will they be like?

We are so lucky the Catalina Island Company sees and believes in our vision and one of the venues I’m most looking forward to is the historic Casino Ballroom, which is the largest circular ballroom in the world and the location of our Roaring ‘20 costume theme party in honor of 100 years of Wrigley’s Catalina! Descanso Beach Club is a stunning beach setting unlike anything in the world with built-in cabana,s and Catherine’s Terrace for VIP drinks food, and private bathrooms for those who purchase a Platinum Pass.

Will there be music around the clock, or just once darkness falls?

There will be music and activities going on all day and night and including afterhours programming like the silent disco, stand-up comedy, and more!

Tell us about what else there is to whilst on the island? There seems to be a lot else going on around the music?

Honestly, even three days on Catalina isn’t enough to experience all the wonders the Island has to offer. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for heart-pumping adventures, or looking to chill out and take time for self-care at the Whet Oasis, attendees can curate their own adventure to their taste. Speaking of taste, the Island boasts amazing restaurants with incredible fresh seafood, traditional comfort breakfasts, and seaside delights at Descanso Beach Club–which, by the way, is the one of the only beaches in California where you can have alcoholic beverages!

And finally – what are the long term goals of the event and project?

We plan to continue Groove Island for many years to come and we look forward to expanding the Whet Travel brand to bring fans as many unique experiences as possible all across the US, Caribbean, and Mexico. We’re even planning on an Asia expansion next year!


Image via @veranmiky