Positive vibes and good karma was the theme of Bangkok’s latest boutique groove cruise and Mixmag Asia debarked with exactly those feelings and singing nothing but praise for the first venture by Karma Klique. Creatively called Karma Kruise and sloganed ‘Do good, feel good', the endeavor focused on fusing fun with philanthropy by taking 175 revelers on a sunset cruise along the central Chao Phraya River and treating them to DJs, strong drinks and good times before turning all their profits over to charity.
From promotion to organization to execution, the event was flawlessly carried out and that was well obvious from the looks plastered on people’s faces – beneath all the sweat that is. But people are (apparently) used to Bangkok’s sweltering summer heat and blazing temperatures didn’t stop eager Karma Kruisers from rendezvousing at Viva & Aviv well before the slated 4.30pm departure time, where the party was already in full swing with music, cocktails and free coconut water to balance it all out. Here the Karma Klique crew was handing out more freebies too – attendees all received elegantly branded Karma Klique totes, sunglasses and chic folding fans that not only helped beat the heat but also lent the cruise and its carousers some colorful adornment.
The cruise kicked off with Tekayu Harrington appropriately throwing down disco while the sun went from relentless to radiant. Being treated to one of Bangkok’s storied sunsets while floating down the Chao Phraya River which runs through metropolitan Bangkok meant partygoers were rewarded with stunning vistas of the city’s most famed landmarks like Wat Arun, Memorial Bridge and the Grand Palace amid a shining skyline of towering skyscrapers.
There were many ‘moments’ on the four and half hour cruise, like every single time the dance floor floated beneath one of Bangkok’s iconic bridges and the crowd both onboard and above erupted in cheers, but vibes really peaked when just before twilight Sunju Hargun serenaded the crowd with Cassius’ sunset anthem ‘The Sound of Violence’ with the magnificent Rama VIII Bridge providing a backdrop bar none. The moment was not lost on anyone.
Eddy Frampton and Boris Rubin carried on with the deep house and techno, closing out the cruise before disembarkment at exactly 9pm when the party shifted to Glow for the official after party. Pepe, Dan Buri, Mendi Indigo, Lando and Sunju Hargun all hit the decks. And let it be known that none of the DJs were paid, yes it’s true. All of the artists, organizers and volunteers decided together that they wanted to give back with music through music, and so it goes.
An all-around rip-roaring success, Karma Kruise did what all of the dance music industry should be doing more of – partying with a purpose. With the industry’s massively inflated prices and obscene profits that are being made by many in music, it makes you wonder why a bigger or at least more obvious effort isn’t being made on philanthropic endeavors or why there isn't a greater focus on at least giving back to the communities that support and surround us. The crew at Karma Klique certainly did a good job of planting that proverbial seed amongst its attendees and will hopefully inspire and ignite others to follow suit. But above all else, the Karma Kruise reached its 100,000 THB goal so it was mission accomplished in every way. But in fact, this was only one part of what they did that day.
“We will not only invest [the profits] in the Duang Prateep Foundation and its education program, but we will also organize a kids day in the Klong Toei slum with musical activities in order to connect and give them a day of joy and relief – one of the many characteristics we believe music can function as a catalyst,” said Johan Vandebeek, co-founder of Karma Klique.
And so what began as a small idea snowballed into something they didn’t expect, especially after getting sponsors like Bacardi, Peroni, Maprao, Red Bull, Viva & Aviv, Glow and One Place Bangkok on board with the project, and this has empowered the team to keep going. We can’t wait to see what the Karma Klique comes up with next.
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Photos courtesy of Benjamin Suomela