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XLIVE Interview Series
XLIVE Interview Series - Jason Beukema - Groove Island.jpg

Jason Beukema, Groove Island - XLIVE Interview Series

This week on the XLIVE Interview Series, we sat down with Jason Beukema, Owner of Groove Island, which is an upcoming immersive dance experience on Catalina Island, outside of Los Angeles County in California. We spoke to Jason about the event, the founding, the artists, challenges, and more. Read the full interview below!


Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, Jason.  Can you give us a brief overview of Groove Island, and how the event was founded?

Groove Island is from the creators of Groove Cruise and 15-years experience hosting the world’s premier electronic music cruise. Whet Travel’s experience also extends to Salsa Cruise (20 years running), plus one-offs like the Zen Cruise, Shiprocked, Motorhead Cruise, Inception Cruise, and the non-profit Whet Foundation to help communities in need wherever we travel. Groove Cruise had held three previous events on Catalina, so we’re excited the Catalina Island Company has welcomed us back for another electronic music experience! 

Who had the initial idea for it, what was that idea and ambition? 

That would be myself. Having hosted three large events on Catalina, I’ve always dreamed of going back and doing it the proper way and sharing this magical paradise with the world. It always shocks me how many people who live in California have never been to Catalina. 

What has an average day in your life been like while getting Groove Island off the ground? 

We aren’t average so there is no such thing as an average day!  We are always innovating, growing, learning, making adjustment,s and perfecting the experience we are going to create. 

How important is it to nail every single detail and not end up with a Fyre style disaster? What is key to that? Team, planning, finances, or?

Infrastructure! Catalina Island is actually celebrating 100 years of the Wrigley family purchasing most of the island and has been a long-time destination for Hollywood tastemakers, as well as the previous spring training location for the Chicago Cubs. Everything we need to hold a successful event is already in place, from daily ferry transportation, helicopter charters, numerous hotels and vacation rentals that we’ve secured, plenty of restaurants, activities, and beautiful venues such as the Descanso Beach Club and the world’s largest circular ballroom where we’ll be holding the Roaring ‘20s costume theme party. Also, everything one could need is within a one-mile radius, including a Von’s grocery store and liquor store in case anyone wants to pay for some cheese sandwiches! ;-)

How hard has it been to get it off the ground, what have been the biggest challenges?

Fortunately, via previous Groove Cruise destination stops, we already have the experience of hosting three parties previously on Catalina Island, plus tapping into our existing relationship with the Catalina Island Company and local businesses, as well as making new friends with locals on the island who’ve been invaluable with their suggestions and input to make this a successful event. 

Groove Cruise - XLIVE Interview - Jason Beukema

How did you decide on the location? What made Catalina Island the right place?

I fell in love with Catalina during our previous parties there, but felt like there was never enough time to enjoy all the Island has to offer. Thus, I wanted to extend that experience to a three-day weekend for not just music, but all the activities, restaurants, and an amazing backdrop filled with one-of-a-kind flora and fauna. 

Tell us about the headliners, what is the musical MO of the event? 

We seek out top talents in the world of house, techno, and trance music, as well as artists that themselves are fans of one another and enjoy mixing-and-mingling with attendees on the dancefloor and via activities rather than just playing a set and bouncing. 

What are you most proud of with this event, what do you think will be the most impressive aspect? 

Very proud of the team and how everything is coming together. This is extremely complex logistically with all of the moving parts. We are pretty good at creating unique, exciting, once in a lifetime experiences and the overall experience and activities are going to be the most impressive. 

What are you most looking forward to about the event, which bit in particular?

Reuniting with all of our amazing fans and artists. The people are what make any experience!


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