Groove Cruise Miami 2020 kicked off its 16th edition on January 9th and landed two days later in Costa Maya on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Upon arrival, a group of 57 attendees took a break from the festival's booming bass and tequila tastings to visit the Casa de la Cultura de Mahahual, a community center located in nearby Mahahual.
The remote town is home of the popular Caribbean cruise ship port at Costa Maya and frequently hosts the guests that accompany them. This time, Groove Cruise decided to say thank you in a more personal way.
The Whet Foundation, established by the festival's creator and CEO Jason Beukema, provides opportunities for show attendees to give back by volunteering in their destination host communities. Volunteers deliver clothing, food and school supply donations, participate in beach and community cleanups, and teach painting and art programs. This year, DJs Lavelle Dupree and Mike Hovsepian stepped up as well, handing out popsicles and cleaning up an abandoned construction dump site to make way for a new donated playground.
In a press release, Beukema said volunteers on their way back to the ship were thanked by a man working the daytime beach party where Above & Beyond headlined. "He was overcome with emotion and said, 'No one every thinks about us, so thank you," Beukema said.
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This year, Groove Cruise attendees could also partake in the Foundation's effort onboard through donate-to-enter activities during the day on the ship. Highlights included kickboxing with Yaya and a meditation session with Emma Hewitt.
Headed to Puerto Plata for Groove Cruise Miami 2021, Beukema said he hopes to partner with local organizations once they arrive. The Foundation manages to stay in touch with its communities as well, fundraising for Hurricane Dorian recovery in the Bahamas - where the ship has sailed several times - and they're considering returning to Costa Mesa.
"The Whet Foundation is a way to thank the communities where Whet Travel visits, and to leave the destinations better than when we arrived," Beukema said.