When community radio station WMNF-88.5 suspended it long-running Tropical Heatwave Festival last year, organizers were hopeful it might someday relaunch in a new form.
No one imagined it would be as a rock cruise.
But that’s what’ll happen when Tropical Heatwave hits the high seas next spring on Royal Carribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas. The community radio station’s Tropical Heatwave Cruise will run Feb. 22-28 from Tampa to Cozumel, with an array of acts well known to Heatwave regulars: Chuck Prophet, the Bright Light Social Hour, Sarah Borges, Nikki Hill, Rev. Billy C. Wirtz and more.
“In our eyes, this is just a way to continue that name as a way of describing an extraordinary musical experience,” said WMNF program director Randy Wynne. “It’s a different way of presenting music, and WMNF has never done it, so we’re giving it a shot.”
The cruise was announced this summer, but WMNF, which is in the middle of a big listener donation drive, is pushing to keep filling up its block of 400 or so reservations on the ship. Wynne, who took his first rock cruise last year, described it as an affordable way for families to spend time with friends and like-minded music fans.
“They’re all bands and people we really like,” he said. “If you’re on a cruise with people, you want to hang out with people you like.”
Other artists booked so far include Have Gun, Will Travel; Trae Pierce and the T-Stones and Vanessa Collier. Among the interactive activities planned: A series of music history workshops led by Wirtz.
Cabin reservations are open now starting from $698, with a $200 deposit due within three days of booking. For details, call (877) 530-4368 or click here.
And coming up on Nov. 3, WMNF will stage a pre-cruise party at the Ale and the Witch in St. Petersburg, featuring music from the Jeff Jenson Band, giveaways, drink specials and, of course, an opportunity to book your cabin in person. Click here for details.
— Jay Cridlin