Not long to go now. In early September, a proper party posse jets out to paradise, gathering on the white sand of an adult-only beach rendezvous to dance along with the crème de la crème of house music’s finest DJs. Sounds familiar, right?
Wrong. Sure, it’s been heard before, probably in the marketing blurb for some Balearic Island rave or for a full moon party in the South China seas. But as far as most festival destinations go, seven days of exclusive, non-stop partying in the Dominican Republic has to top anyone’s ‘to do’ list.
Four years ago, a new chapter began inthe Dominican Republic’s cultural history, endorsing it as an alternative electronic music destination. Groovefest’s seven-day event is top drawer and attracts the finest names in electronic music. But the organisers weren’t the first Europeans to put the country on the travel map.
The Dominican Republic (DR) was of course “discovered by” Columbus in 1492. La Española, as it was known in his day, began its recorded history through Columbus’ son, Diego, who was DR’s first viceroy. According to Wikipedia, its capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
DR has always been a dream holiday destination, and since its conception, Groovefest has fast-tracked into the A-list of dance music gatherings, earned a shed-load of credentials on the way and is unlike any other music event elsewhere in the region. There are plenty of other things to see and do as well, so if you do go for a wander, you don’t need to go too far.
“Manati Park in Bávaro, Punta Cana is a preserve that focuses on nature, animals and the history of the Dominican Republic,” says Esther Smith, PR director for the Dominican Republic Tourist Board. “Also, a boat excursion to Isla Saona is a great day out, and a day trip to the capital, the colonial city of Santo Domingo, is a must-do,” she adds.
For this edition, Groovefest takes over the stunning Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort complex. It is a closed event for one thousand guests to experience seven days of non-stop, uplifting music in a unique coastal setting that boasts 4 stages and a private chill out beach zone. Paradise means paradise.
The main advantage of being at Punta Cana, apart from the stunning scenery, is that it simplifies transport links to and from Punta Cana International airport, especially with free transfers direct from airport arrivals to the festival, easing the stress for weary travelers. Basically, you don’t have to think about anything at all. When you check-in, you’re in. Access to all the event’s facilities begin as soon as you walk in the door. Just drop your stuff in the room and get involved. There’s a ‘no queues and no tokens’, which is how a tropical festival should be.
Hungry? Gourmet dining options are on hand with 11 First Class Restaurants on site and the resort’s bars serving top-class beverages and cocktails to ease into the groove. Apart from an excellent music programme, plenty of other options are on the table in between the DJ sessions. Relaxing spas, a first-class gym – as if the non-stop dancing won’t keep you fit – casinos, and even an 18 Hole Golf Course are also on the ticket.
One of Groovefest’s regular artists loves DR. “Well, the weather is amazing,” said DJ Pierre. “The tropical vibe puts you in a relaxed state of mind, you know… you see all the smiling faces and you feel as though you are one with them.” DJ Pierre has been busy in the studio working on new material for Get Physical and also found time to open a club in Atlanta, Georgia – WildPitch. For him, it has been an extremely busy year, including gigs at Movement Detroit, Flow Festival Helsinki and some great events for charity, like Connie’s Acid House party.
“Connie is a real little girl who I’ve known for over 3 years now. She’s my buddy and she has a birth defect that prevents her from developing her motor skills.” Pierre tells us, “So we raise money for her and others like her for an organization called Tiny Steps in Manchester, UK. Good things. I feel blessed that I can be a blessing.”
DJ Pierre joins Dirtybird head-honcho Claude VonStroke, Circus Recordings’ Yousef, Chicago House legend Derrick Carter amongst a whole host of dance floor heroes. The artist selection is first rate and also includes some of the hottest, emerging talent from the scene. In demand producer, Dantiez Saunderson, son of Inner City’s Kevin Saunderson, is more than ready for his Groovefest debut.
“Not been to the Dominican Republic yet, but I keep hearing great things about the location and the beauty of it! I am so excited to check it out and soak up the culture & vibes! I have been touring the US and Europe earlier in the year, with some back to back sets with the Pops. I was at the Movement Festival in Detroit playing as The Saunderson Brothers with DaMarii. Switching gears now, in the studio writing some tracks to prep for the festival season and all upcoming parties,” – Dantiez Saunderson.
All in all, this looks set to be one of the best events of the year. It’s clear to see the elements that set Groovefest apart from all of its contemporaries, especially in Europe, where every festival seem to mirror images of each other. Step up and let the rhythm move you.
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