Calibash Goes to Sea as SBS Launches Event-Themed Cruises

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A report by Leila Cobo for Billboard.

Calibash, MiamiBash, El Zolazo and Dia Nacional de La Banda get on board.

In what amounts to a new entertainment platform, SBS will launch a series of Spring Break music cruises themed around the company’s successful music fests.

Calibash and MiamiBash (both urban music and reggaeton), El Dia Nacional de la Banda (regional Mexican) and El Zolazo (tropical) will take to the ocean in addition to their traditional venue dates in Los Angeles and Miami.

Presented by SBS Entertainment, SBS’ live event division, the “Spring Break Ocean Festival Latin Music Cruise” (SBOF) is being put together with Epic Fun Charters, the same company that produces the Zumba Cruise.

Four different cruise ships (from Carnival and Royal Caribbean International) with capacity for up to 3,000 fans each, will sail between February 26 and March 9, 2018, from Long Beach, CA, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

“SBOF is the first Latin music platform that will take place on the ocean on luxury cruises. We’re going to set the bar for future themed cruises both for the Latin and mainstream markets,” said Raul Alarcon, president/CEO/Chairman of SBS.

See a promotional video here:

SBS, of course, is best known for its powerful radio network, which includes New York La Mega, the top-rated Spanish language radio station in the country, the most-listened to station in New York City.

“We’re offering SBS’ audience an original alternative,” says Jesus Salas, SBS’ programming EVP and multiplatform coordinator. “Our radio stations will revamp the market with this innovative concept.”

When SBS and Epic Fun Charters first spoke about partnering, the original idea was a single show aboard a cruise ship. Epic had by then found success with the Zumba cruises and felt it could also develop a Latin music franchise.

“We needed a partner that was as strong as Zumba and had a history of executing concerts and festivals and a promotional platform in this country,” said Abraham Btesh, president of Epic Fun Charters.

When they came to SBS, “we studied the possibilities and doubled our bets, proposing a series of festivals on the ocean,” says Lucas Piña, vp of SBS Entertainment, the company division in charge of SBS’ live events and concerts.  “Our audience is more demanding year after year and they want to get not only the best product but the best experience.”

The final lineups for SBOF will be announced in the coming weeks, but they’re expected to mirror SBS’ festival lineups, which feature the top acts in the genre.

Calibash, which has taken place in Los Angeles for the past 10 years, is particularly important and widely regarded as the biggest urban music radio fest in the country. The Calibash Ocean Fest will sail from Long Beach on February 26 for four nights.

While there have been occasional Latin music-themed cruises before, nothing has taken place at this large a scale or with such a big brand.  “Bringing our radio and TV audience closer to their favorite stars in the ocean will epic,” said SBS COO Albert Rodriguez.

Painting: Fiesta at the Beach by Rebecca Springer Korpita.

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