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EARLY

EARLY Let's get this party started

Andy Levine played in a band called Waterdog with Jett Beres and Ryan Newell from Sister Hazel. He wasn’t very good, but he booked all the gigs so they let him stay in the band.  When the band dissolved in the Spring 1994, Andy began promoting concerts for a local Gainesville club called Richenbachers. Sister Hazel was starting up and Andy had a great relationship with the band so they decided to work together.  In 1996, Sister Hazel released an independent album and sold 10,000 copies in 90 days, leading them to sign a record deal with Universal Records. From the beginning, Andy and the band invested heavily in connecting with their fans and organized an official street team to help spread the word about Sister Hazel. In 1997, the band earned a #1 song, “All For You”, which propelled the album to Platinum status. As the band toured, the street team, called “The Hazelnuts”, continued to grow.

2001

2001 Getting the game plan together

During a weekly message board chat with the Sister Hazel street team, fans requested a weekend hang with the band since they had been working so hard to promote them. Andy relayed the message to the band and they simply said, “lets do it”. Andy didn't know where to start, but while traveling on a flight from New York to Atlanta, fate placed him in the seat next to a travel agent who suggested a cruise. So... we did it! We invited 400 fans on a cruise over Labor Day for what we dubbed, “Rock and Roll at Sea".  We had no idea what we were in for, but it was a ton of fun. It was while we were stopped in Key West on that trip that Andy decided he wanted to build a business based on bringing fans and bands on vacation together. The cruise returned, and we soon set our sights on chartering an entire ship for the next year so we could make it a real festival.  We called Edwin McCain, Pat McGee, Cowboy Mouth and asked them to join us in 2002. If they could bring 400 fans each, we could fill an entire ship. We began getting prices from cruise lines to rent the ship on September 10th, 2001. The next day, the world changed and a cruise was the last thing we could think about. When we picked conversations back up with the cruise lines, prices had dropped significantly. We still had to come up with $750,000 to rent a ship, and none of us had the money.  So we built a website and asked 1,000 fans to put down a $99 deposit, and then took our plan to a local Atlanta businessmen who loaned us the money. We were on our way!

  • The Rock Boat I

2003

2003 This may just be a good idea

We couldn’t wait to announce the next Rock Boat.  We invited a lot of the same bands and Tonic jumped in on the fun.  The event grew a little, but it didn't sell out. It was a lot of risk and work, so we had a meeting afterwards to vote whether to keep it going or shut it down. In the end, we determined that we'd give it one more year.

  • The Rock Boat III

2004

2004 Narrowing our focus

We put The Rock Boat on sale in November of 2003 and it sold out within a few weeks. The hard work and patience had paid off. Gavin DeGraw joined us for this sailing with 20+ other artists. Zac Brown performed on his first cruise with us after winning a Battle of the Bands contest in the Southeast. We were learning so much about producing a vacation rather than just a concert.  We didn’t have to vote anymore about whether to do it or not. The Rock Boat was here to stay, and we even ventured into producing a similar festival at a ski resort in Colorado, and called it The Rock Slope. 

  • The Rock Slope I
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  • The Rock Boat IV

2005

2005 Caught in the eye of the storm

The Rock Boat was set to sail out of New Orleans at the end of September and sold out months in advance.  We decided to add a 2nd Rock Boat in January of 2006, thinking we would have one event every 6 months.  One month before we were scheduled to sail, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and Carnival rented our ship to FEMA so they could use it to house relief workers and families that had lost their homes. The Rock Boat was cancelled. We were sure we'd go out of business. Even though the cruise line owed us our charter fee back, we were still out all the money in marketing, artist fees and a year's worth of general operating costs. After a trip to Miami, Carnival agreed to pay us all our unrecoverable expenses and allow us to stay in business. Guests were calling us saying, “keep our money... just don’t go out of business."  This is when we realized we were in the community business, and that was a defining moment for sure. In an effort to make the best of a bad situation, we invited guests and artists to Atlanta during the weekend we were supposed to be on the cruise, and 500 guests traveled to "Rock For Relief," a concert with most of the bands scheduled to play on board. We ended up raising $55,000 for Hurricane Katrina Relief that weekend.  At the end of December, Andy got a call from the Barenaked Ladies manager asking if we could help them host their fans on a cruise. We said “We’ve been waiting on your call.”  We also decided that we would no longer represent Sister Hazel as a management client, but help them find a new manager and continue being their partner on The Rock Boat.

  • The Rock Slope II
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  • The Rock Boat V (cancelled)

Rock For Relief · Rock Fore! Dough

2006

2006 Turning it back up again

The Rock Boat was hosted in January out of Galveston, TX due to the port of New Orleans still being closed from Hurricane Katrina. We allowed guests who had been booked on the cancelled TRB V to transfer to TRB VI, and ended up with a great crowd on board. One day, we hit some bad weather on the way back from Mexico and had to move all the shows indoors. The band Wideawake stole the show by playing in the Atrium as guests lined the railings of 7 storeis and stayed there for 2 hours.  On the last night of the cruise, Sister Hazel kicked off a jam and every artist from the lineup got up and played one song. It went 'til 6:00am as we pulled back into Galveston. Sister Hazel brought their new manager on the cruise and he liked it so much he asked us if we could do a cruise for his other band Lynyrd Skynyrd. This was an exciting time for us, but the idea of doing 3 cruises in a year totally freaked us out. Each one was like giving birth - just as painful and just as rewarding.

That summer, we took The Rock Boat on the road for the first time and produced a bus tour called The Rock Bus, featuring two of The Rock Boat's most popular acts from that year, Wideawake and Zack Brown Band.

  • The Rock Boat VI
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  • The Rock Slope III

The Rock Bus · Rock Fore! Dough

2007

2007 Going in some new fun directions

Going from one cruise a year to three in one month was overwhelming. Lynyrd Skynyrd went first followed by the the Rock Boat and then the Barenaked Ladies. We pulled it off and both Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Barenaked Ladies committed to doing it again because they loved it so much. That was a huge moment to see all three events become annual festivals instead of just one-offs. That’s when we really knew we had a business we could build. Within a few months of completing these festivals, John Mayer agreed to do a cruise and we decided to start another festival of our own, Cayamo, a singer-songwriter based event conceived by Ken Levitan who managed Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller.

  • Gimme Three Days
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  • The Rock Boat VII
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  • Ships and Dip I -

Rock Fore! Dough

2008

2008 SOS we did too much

With 10 months to prepare, we felt that producing 5 cruises in one month was doable. In the end, it nearly brought us to our knees. The funny thing about our experience is that we were constantly in a position with our guests where we were asking them for a chance to make something right. While it took a huge emotional and physical toll on all of us, that experience had a profound impact on how we would prepare, staff and anticipate our guests' needs in the future. It’s almost like we had to go through that to see what we were made of. It also allowed our guests to see what we were made of. We never gave up and did not rest until all our guests were back on track. We still reflect back on this year as the one that defined what our recipe needed to be in order to grow without compromising the quality of the experience. Our new cruises this year, Cayamo and Mayercraft Carrier, proved to be great experiences and both signed on again for the following year.  At the end of 2008, Sixthman had outgrown the little yellow house we used as an office since 2004, and moved into a bigger space next to the Zoo in Atlanta.

  • Simple Man Cruise
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  • The Rock Boat VIII
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  • Ships and Dip III -
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  • Mayercraft Carrier
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  • Cayamo

Rock Fore! Dough · Sixthman Sessions

2017

2017 Two ships and a dream

Over the past several years, Norwegian Pearl had truly become our home away from home, and we continued to make modifications and staging improvements so it was even more suitable for our events. However, Norwegian Jade, the Pearl’s sister ship, was relocated to Tampa and became a brand new venue option for us. There were a few differences, but the majority of the ship was the same footprint and Norwegian agreed to outfit the ship similarly to the Pearl, giving us two ships to choose from when producing our festivals. We were able to use both ships throughout our season – and for the first time ever, we had a “changeover day” in two different cities. The disembarkation for the Walker Stalker Cruise in Miami was the same day as the embarkation of Keeping The Blues Alive at Sea in Tampa. Obviously we had to dive into some crazy new logistical planning to pull that off, but we made it happen! We added one new event in the Spring with Pitbull’s After Dark Party, and the rest of our Spring events were returning favorites. We proudly celebrated Cayamo’s 10th sailing in February, and we also hit a major company-wide milestone on that same sailing by completing our 100th festival at sea! The fall brought one more brand-new festival our way with Warped Rewind at Sea, a new partnership with Vans Warped Tour.

  • Walker Stalker Cruise
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  • Blues Alive At Sea III (2017)
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  • The Rock Boat XVII
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  • Sail Across the Sun
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  • Cayamo
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  • The Outlaw Country Cruise
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  • 311 Caribbean Cruise
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  • Pitbull After Dark Party
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  • Kid Rock Cruise
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  • Warped Rewind at Sea
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  • Impractical Jokers Cruise
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  • The KISS Kruise VII

2018

2018 Conquered the quest to 1 million

Over the years, we’ve kept track of how many days we spend at sea as a company – and we encourage our guests to do the same! We call it Saltiness, and if you’ve ever sailed with us, you can find the information in your Sixthman account. We’ve had our sights set on conquering that huge “1 Million Days at Sea” milestone for years, and we finally hit it onboard the 18th sailing of The Rock Boat. We also encouraged our guests to share their personal number of days at sea with us all season.

Our spring roster consisted of all returning events once again, and we brought two brand new festivals to life in our Fall season, first with Brantley Gilbert’s Kick It In The Ship Cruise, followed by Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea, featuring the first-ever wrestling ring at sea! Not to mention, both of these gave all of our other events a run for their money when it comes to cruise name length.

  • The Outlaw Country Cruise
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  • Walker Stalker Cruise
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  • The Rock Boat XVIII
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  • Cayamo
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  • Blues Alive at Sea IV (2018)
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  • Pitbull After Dark Party
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  • Sail Across the Sun
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  • PARAHOY!
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  • Kid Rock Cruise
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  • Brantley Gilbert Cruise
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  • Chris Jericho Cruise
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  • The KISS Kruise VIII

2019

2019 Land, sand, sea and Spain

It started out like any other year for Sixthman – lots of back-to-back Caribbean cruises starting in January and continuing through March. We took on several returning events, and added some new faces to our roster with Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Ride, our third-ever TV-show based event with the Trailer Park Boys, and welcomed Melissa Etheridge and Jon Bon Jovi to the Sixthman artist host family.

After a running start, our year became drastically different as we took on new challenges with Resort Festivals and Europe! Kid Rock returned, but this time brought his Flyin' High Island Jam to the Dominican Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Then our staff headed overseas for the first time in Sixthman history, bringing our floating festivals to an entire new audience, including an all-new crowd for us with Belle and Sebastian’s Boaty Weekender. We also explored Europe with some familiar faces by bringing Joe Bonamassa and Jon Bon Jovi's already-established events across the Atlantic. We hit the sand once again in November for the inaugural All The Best Fest with John Prine at Breathless + Now Onyx Resort. And that's the story of how we completed 19 events in 2019! 

  • The Outlaw Country Cruise
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  • The Rock Boat XIX
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  • Impractical Jokers Cruise
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  • Cayamo
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  • Kesha's Rainbow Ride
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  • Walker Stalker Cruise
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  • Blues Alive At Sea
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  • 311 Caribbean Cruise VI
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  • Trailer Park Boys Cruise
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  • The Melissa Etheridge Cruise
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  • Runaway to Paradise Caribbean
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  • Kid Rock Beach
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  • The Boaty Weekender
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  • Blues Alive at Sea Mediterranean
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  • Runaway to Paradise Mediterranean
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  • The KISS Kruise IX
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  • Brantley Gilbert Cruise
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  • All The Best Fest

2016

2016 Expanding our reach

For over a decade, we’ve pioneered the festival cruising industry and have continued raising the bar across the board. So what happens when we expand into industries beyond music, our tried and true? In 2016, we found out as we took the leap by jumping into the realms of entertainment and sports. Brand new to the Sixthman roster, The Impractical Jokers CruiseWalker Stalker Cruise, and Gronk’s Party Ship made their inaugural journeys across the Caribbean. New communities were formed and we learned even better ways to serve our guests through a different scope. We also added one new music festival to our roster with the first-ever Outlaw Country Cruise, a partnership with Sirius XM's Outlaw Country. We finished out our spring season with six returning festivals - all full ships. We headed back out to sea in the fall for a short one-cruise “season” as we celebrated our 6th sailing with The Hottest Band in the World, KISS!

  • Impractical Jokers Cruise
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  • Walker Stalker Cruise
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  • The Rock Boat XVI
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  • Cayamo
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  • The Outlaw Country Cruise
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  • Sail Across the Sun
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  • Blues Alive at Sea II (2016)
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  • Gronk's Party Ship
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  • PARAHOY!
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  • Kid Rock Cruise
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  • The KISS Kruise VI

2015

2015 New office, new beginnings

As we entered a new year, we found ourselves getting settled into a brand new office. The team members that we’d brought on months prior had gone from timid toe-dippers, to salty sailors eager to explore greater depths of our expanding company. Based on what we learned in 2014, we scaled back the number of events with the intention of working smarter, not harder. The Rock Boat hit the high seas for it’s milestone 15th voyage, and we introduced another new event, Blues Alive at Sea with Joe Bonnamassa. Our CEO, Andy Levine, joined the Sixthman Home Team for the first time ever and remained on land during the first round of cruises, leaving the events in the capable hands of his team. When he sailed later on in the season as a guest, we didn’t believe he’d stay hands-off and actually enjoy a much-needed vacation…he proved us all wrong!

After the end of a successful spring season, we headed back to Atlanta to give our sea legs a much needed break. The recently launched Sixthman Sessions gained a great deal of momentum during the next few months as bands from all over the country graced our new office stage with live performances during the work day. October arrived like a freight train and we suddenly found ourselves aboard Norwegian Pearl ready to blow our final three events of 2015 out of the water.

  • Sandy Beaches Cruise 21 -
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  • Cayamo
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  • The Rock Boat XV
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  • Sail Across the Sun
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  • Blues Alive at Sea I (2015)
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  • 311 Caribbean Cruise
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  • Kid Rock Cruise
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  • The KISS Kruise V
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  • Florida Georgia Line Cruise
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  • Mad Decent Boat Party

2014

2014 Back to back to back to back

One of the unanswered questions in our industry is this: What is the growth potential if we were to have a partner to invest with us, allowing us to take more risk? At the beginning of 2014, Norwegian brought a new ship to Miami and the Norwegian Pearl was available for an 8 week window between January and March, so we took it. We produced our annual cruises and added some new ones that we had been curious about over the years. Our new additions included Sail Across The Sun with Train, Progressive Nation at Sea and PARAHOY with Paramore. We gained a new partner with Delbert McClinton's team and helped them produce the 20th Sandy Beaches Cruise, and we experimented with programming the entertainment on a normal Norwegian sailing with the first-ever LIVE LOUD Festival. We probably bit off more than we could chew. But we learned a ton about executing back-to-back festivals and finding the amount of new cruises that we could successfully nurture each year. After taking some time to rest and reset, we prepared ourselves for the fall cruise season and introduced the world to two new events; Florida Georgia Line’s: This Is How We Cruise and Mad Decent Boat Party. Both events were highly successful, creating two new communities we loved serving. But with new beginnings came the end of an era as the 8th Simple Man Cruise with Lynyrd Skynyrd made its final voyage, closing out the fall season of 2014 with fond memories and bittersweet farewells.

  • Sandy Beaches Cruise 20 -
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  • Mountain Song At Sea
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  • Cayamo
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  • Sail Across the Sun
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  • Progressive Nation at Sea
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  • The Rock Boat XIV
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  • LIVE LOUD Festival
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  • Kid Rock Cruise
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  • PARAHOY!
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  • The KISS Kruise IV
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  • GRAMMY Festival at Sea
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  • Florida Georgia Line Cruise
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  • Mad Decent Boat Party
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  • Simple Man Cruise