Dominican Holidaze, Dec 2015
Dominican Holidaze 2015
Breathless Resort & Spa
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
December 3-7, 2015
Upon arriving at Breathless Punta Cana for Dominican Holidaze 2015, the mood was already set. Returning to this beautiful country and resort for the 2nd straight year elicited a feeling of comfort and being back home, a relaxed yet enthusiastic feeling that permeated both the music onstage and the overall vibe of guests around the resort. Heavy hitters The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey’s McGee, and STS9 were joined by an incredible lineup of special guests including Lettuce, Papadosio, Break Science, Lee Foss, Gigamesh, and Nightmares on Wax (DJ Set). A truly magnifico adventure!
In addition to three nights shows each from our hosts The Disco Biscuits, STS9, and Umphrey’s McGee, Dominican Holidaze 2016 also featured music from Lettuce, Papadosio, Break Science, and more. Here’s a rundown of the musical musings from our 2015 adventure…
The Disco Biscuits held the honor of opening up the music at Holidaze right after our welcome toast tradition, and from the moment they kicked off their set with Kamaole Sands, we knew the guys meant business. They followed up a killer first night with a sunset show the next day featuring concise jamming and fan favorites, including Crickets and Aceetobee with a Catalyst sandwiched in there for good measure. When they came out on the next night to deliver the goods once again, we were treated to a near 30-minute Magellan as well as other gems including a Helicopters encore, but not before the band genuinely thanked the crowd for coming down and helping to make the experience so special.
The second band to take to the beach was Umphrey’s McGee, and as always they sure didn’t disappoint. Their first night show kicked off with a Goonville>1348 and never looked back, highlighted by rockin’ versions of 40’s Theme, Puppet String, and Ringo (yes, you heard a “Paradise City” tease in there.) Two days later, UM came out for a sunset show that started out all business with a jammed out Booth Love, but by the end of the show went into full party mode with the Shady Horns coming out for a lively cover of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer! By the last night, Umphrey’s was in fine form and firing on all cylinders as they ripped through a bevy of classics such as The Floor and Hurt Bird Bath, as well as a debut of an original tune, Attachments. The guys then showed class and paid tribute to the late great Scott Weiland with a cover of Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush”, before ending with Gulf Stream, singing us home with “All your friends are here now, this is what we came to do…”
STS9 had to wait until the 2nd night to play their first show, and made the waiting all the worthwhile! The beach was in a groove as they jammed out numbers like Vapors, Rent, and Hubble, as well as What Is Love?, which threw us into a dancing frenzy. The next night built upon the energy of the first night, as they kicked off with Totem, before favorites like Inspire Strikes Back and The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature. Holding the honor of playing the final sunset show of our trip, STS9 remained on top of their game from the opening Instantly to the show ending Simulator, reminding us why we brought them into the Holidaze family back in 2011. The beach appropriate Water Song provided some mid-set power as the song title was lost on the crowd, who erupted upon the first notes.
Special guests Lettuce brought the funk to the beach, a sound welcomed with open arms as they held down the final set of the week out on the MainStage. Papadosio threw down their unique brand of electronica for us during their second trip to Holidaze (first being Mayan Holidaze 2013), while Break Science brought they heat of their own as both a duo and with Shady Horns collaborations. So much great music!
Holidaze is and always was all about the fan experience, offering tons of extras that make it so much more than just a music event. And our 2015 adventure was no different!
One of the first big happenings was out by the pool on the 2nd day, with Marc Brownstein helping to host some musical BINGO to benefit Positive Legacy. But he wasn’t the only Disco Biscuit interacting with fans, Jon “Barber” Gutwillig hosted his own series of poolside games on the final afternoon, dubbed “Barber’s Little Shop of Poolside Horrors.” The guitarist led us through some wacky contests and challenges, with prizes including bottles of mamajuana and other tropical treats.
Some other activities included beach flag football, with Team Stasik taking it to Team Cummins by a slight margin. But it was smiles and good Holidaze sportsmanship all around! Alana Rocklin then judged her hooping contest for the 2nd year in a row, giving fans a chance to show off their skills out by the pool. Our activities were rounded out by a Papadosio ping-pong tournament, and of course, the annual autograph session with all the artists!
Our 2015 theme night went in a little different direction as we celebrated Ballers Ball! Fans were encouraged to collaborate with their friends to represent their crew or favorite sports teams with jerseys and other get-ups. It was great to see so much color and flavor out on the beach!