Paul Lojszczyk is Head of Entertainment for Day 8 Experiences. Probably one of the coolest jobs in the world. The Yacht Week is notoriously famous for parties and epic times at sea. We got the chance to sit down with Paul and talk about his role in The Yacht Week, epic memories he has, his favourite locations and how he rose through the ranks in a such a sought after and competitive industry.
Hi Paul, welcome to Beats Travel. First of all please tell our readers about who you are and what you do?
My name is Paul Lojszczyk, originally from Australia and I am Head of Entertainment for Day 8 Experiences, the umbrella company that runs the music, travel and adventure brands such as The Yacht Week and The Ski Week. The Yacht Week is a series of 7 day floating festivals held across 7 stunning destinations around the world including Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Italy and the Caribbean. We organise flotillas of 24 – 35 year olds to sail around spectacular places during the day, then meet up together and party in amazing venues each night. It’s an amazing combination of adventure, travel, music and people. It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it!
In terms of The Yacht Week and progression of music, what do you work on and how did this develop since the launch of the company?
The company was founded 11 years ago by three Swedes, who were initially just organising sailing holidays for their friends. All of a sudden, the trips started gaining popularity and before they knew it they had a fast-growing company and brand that everyone wanted to be a part of. With events and parties always being a major part of the company, music has always been an important part of the company, but never taken the main focus of the week. When I began in this role five years ago, the Swedish influence was very evident. It was mainly the big hands in the air progressive house with artists like Steve Angello. The company had a swathe of musically talented individuals involved. For example, one of my predecessors was Victorien, one half of the French house act FDVM.
We have morphed the sound from big room and commercial dance to a more sophisticated and varied program that includes house, tech house, disco, and a few old school hip hop nights in there too. We have an incredible hip-hop collective named Applebum who play several events per week in Croatia.
With guests from all across the globe, with more musical tastes then you can poke a stick at, our sound still needs to be accessible, but that is totally achievable without compromising quality. So that is our main focus moving forward.
Out of the years you have built this for The Yacht Week who has been your favourite booking and why?
If we’re talking favourites, it would have to be Goldroom. We’ve worked with him for several years now and it’s been absolutely dreamy. Asides from being incredibly easy to work with and one of the genuine nice guys in the industry, his level of interaction with and genuine love for his fans or simply fans of music is amazing and so great to see. Then there is his actual music, which is just the perfect soundtrack to summer!
How about regulars that play at your The Yacht Week events?
We have an incredible pool of really talented DJs that have been doing an outstanding job for us for many years. Amongst these guys are DJ’s Bladkramer and Milo S, both from Denmark and an Egyptian duo named OMR and ADRY, who now reside in Helsinki. All these guys do an incredible job in bringing the fire day after day, keeping the tunes accessible, but still super cool. They’re all 10/10 certified legends too!
More recently we’ve had a few great acts such as Menendez Brothers, Kallyde and Weaver Bros from the UK on the lineup as well as Bender from the US.
These type of artists play festivals all year round, heading to different festival stages and countries and then they are suddenly in a stunning location in the middle of the ocean… It must be a crazy experience for the artists when they come with The Yacht Week?
It certainly is! These guys get booked to play at the coolest parties all across the world, yet when they see the events we throw, and the locations we throw them at, they get a serious buzz out of it.
For example, we hosted Claptone aboard our Buzz Boat this summer just gone. He played a killer set from a taxi boat, that had been converted into this Burning Man style, floating Wasp. It was in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, between a tunnel of yachts, with a 400 person crowd floating in crystal clear water in front of him. Even for a DJ that consistently plays the world’s best festivals and parties, he was pretty speechless after the set. His green room was a 45-foot catamaran which was pretty rad too! A lot of the events are pretty unique. Mixmag actually streamed that whole performance so you can find it on Youtube / Facebook if you’re a Claptone fan.
You’ve been working with The Yacht Week for a few years now. For you what would be the most memorable experience that would go down in the history books?
That is a tough one. Each summer, epic, ridiculous adventures kind of become the norm. However, the one that springs to mind happened at an incredible venue on the Island of Vis. It’s called Fort George and it’s actually owned by Day 8 Experiences. It’s a 200-year-old fort that’s perched atop a headland, overlooking the Adriatic that we have converted into a legit night club.
A few years ago we had an event planned there for the evening. The day was uncharacteristically stormy and we were hesitating as to whether we should call it off.
We decided to go for it but from the fort you could see the thunderstorms and lightning circling around the island in the most spectacular fashion. We were all good in the beginning, with the storms simply adding to the epic atmosphere, swirling around us for a good few hours.
However at around 1am, just as the party was really kicking off, the heavens unleashed! It was mayhem with the wind and rain, we had umbrellas and sheets protecting the DJ. About 40% of the crowd fled inside the castle, however the remaining 60% stayed and embraced the craziness and the party elevated to the next level. It was one for the books for sure. Things like that give nights a memorable x-factor.
For some people you have the dream job? For any readers wanting to get into music tourism, what recommendations would you give to anyone looking to get into this line of work?
Probably the best piece of advice is to just get out there and get involved. Get networking and meet people. The more people you meet in the right places the more opportunities will come your way. If you’re passionate about it, you won’t stop until you land that dream job. It’s important that once you do get that opportunity, you work hard and smash it to ensure you keep it. For example, I worked around 120 days straight last summer. Also don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do those hard yards. You may get a fair few rubbish jobs on the way, but we’ve all been there and paid our dues. I’ve worked at some horrible parties and DJ’d some really average gigs. But it all builds your experience and character.
Put yourself out there, get into the right circles and work hard for it.
You mentioned a few amazing locations. Where has your job taken you?
My job certainly is a dream job in many aspects. It’s taken me to places I would only have dreamed of going with some of the most talented, incredible people. For that I’m incredibly grateful.
From hiking active volcanoes in Italy, to hanging out with Carl Cox backstage of Ultra, to sailing past Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the Caribbean, to throwing down tunes from a catamaran with Goldroom at the foot of the imposing mountains of the Bay Of Kotor in Montenegro, I’ve been so so lucky to see and do so many amazing things. When your mode of transport is a yacht, it opens up a whole world of adventure that traditional land based travel can’t access.
What would you say is your favorite location out of where you work?
My favourite is a tie between Croatia and British Virgin Islands. Croatia has it all. It has this spectacular coastline, ancient cities with matching orange roofs, amazing fortified cities and this doesn’t yet mention the music scene and incredible venues.
British Virgin Islands is simply paradise. Those white sand beaches, palm trees and coral reefs are all too dreamy. I like rum a lot too, so it’s a good place to be.
You mention Croatia. Why do you think Eastern Europe and Croatia is such a hotspot for music tourism?
I think it’s for a number of reasons. The unspoiled natural beauty is a big pulling card. It’s also the undiscovered aspect that draws people in as they want to experience something new. Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro are turning into the fresh, undiscovered buzz destinations that Croatia was 10 years ago. They are starting to bring in music tourists with festivals like Kala Festival in Albania. Another drawcard is that they are cheap to travel to (for punters) and cheap to throw events (for promoters). If you go to Ibiza you’re going to spend a lot of money without trying. Whereas in these Eastern European countries, your money goes so much further for both punters and promoters.
Regulations wise you can get away with a lot more as well, making it much easier to do really cool things, that are simply not possible in other parts of Europe.
People also say Croatia is the new Ibiza? Do you think Croatia will hold out as the new world’s hotspot for music and festivals or do you think it will have its day?
I think it does have longevity, provided the government has a good tourist and environmental management plan (which they do). It’s getting very busy and expensive in places like Dubrovnik which does turn people off, but there are so many good locations where new events can be held and disperse those crowds up and down the coast as well as inland. It’s an incredible country that people will want to visit provided it remains pristine.
It will be interesting to see if and when it reaches its saturation point from a music festival perspective. I can’t see it happening in the near future, especially whilst Montenegro and Albania don’t quite have the infrastructure to support the number of festivals that Croatia holds. But once they catch up, who knows?
Do you have a few favourite hangouts our readers must visit?
Absolutely! With TYW, I’ve spent a huge amount of time around Hvar, Vis and Split. Whilst I love all those places, the island of Vis is my personal favourite. It’s stunning, relatively quiet and untouched. It was a military base until 1989 and so wasn’t open to foreigners until then, preserving the island from development. It also means the island is full of cool military stuff like submarine caves, forts and an extensive network of tunnels.
My favourite cafe is a little place called Fig Cafe in the back alleyways of Hvar. It’s pretty hard to find, but you’re rewarded with a quaint little cafe with a little menu that nails every dish. Mega vibes on this place. I also love heading to Brasserie On Seven, its a restaurant on the Riva in Split that serves some of the best hangover breakfast, including Eggs Benedict and French Toast. Much needed for when we get back to the mainland on day 8.
When it comes to clubs, Carpe Diem Island is my jam. You get the taxi boat to this little island nightclub set amongst a forest. The sounds, music, production is all on point. It’s a little escape from reality, it’s so easy to get lost in the music and the forest and then before you know it you’ve missed the last taxi boat back to town and the island has you forever more!
Dalmatian food is some of the best in the world in our eyes. Do you have a favourite Dalmation dish?
Peka was my favourite until I attempted to go vegetarian. Which is difficult in Croatia. But the Peka and the seafood is amazing. The fish is all super fresh. There’s a small little restaurant in Vis that does the best fish soup I’ve ever had, but now that I’m Vegetarian I shouldn’t be saying that…
How about Dalmatian drink?
I do like a rakia but you can get some pretty rough ones! But it is a great little pick me up especially if you’ve gorged and you’ve got a big night ahead. You’ve got the excuse that it’s a digestiant too… it really helps you out with the 16 kilos of Peka you just ate.
Yacht Week make some pretty spectacular content and have been partly responsible for making Croatia one of the worlds most instagrammable locations. You also work a lot on content yourself and have a pretty epic instagram. Was that inspired by The Yacht Week?
It’s something the company has done so well for so long and they certainly are at the forefront when it comes to social media and the marketing around that. In regards to it inspiring my own content game, it certainly has played a part, however even before I started at The Yacht Week, I was shooting photos and videos, albeit pretty bad photos and videos. I’ve always pursued jobs in spectacular places in the world, as I find places of natural beauty so inspiring and calming, good for the soul. I can’t help but document these travels and adventures and then attempt to create something that will inspire others to go out and experience them too.
The Yacht Week works with so many talented creatives and may have taught me a thing or two and they have all inspired me. I’m looking forward to working more with the content team at Day 8 moving forward.
Why are you so inspired by this part of the world?
So many reasons. Firstly it’s absolutely spectacular – the mountains, waterfalls, the coastline, the towns, the forts. Seriously aesthetically pleasing. Then there is the rich history, both ancient and recent. There’s lots of areas that are still relatively undiscovered ad not yet spoiled by tourism. Then there’s the fire music scene that keeps growing and growing each year.
It’s also all just so different to where I grew up and just Australia in general, which plays a big part I think.
So, finally what’s coming up in the pipeline for Yacht Week and yourself Paul in 2019?
So on The Yacht Week front, we’re continuing to hone our musical program, brand ad have some really exciting collaborations in the works. Unfortunately we’re still working out the details so I can’t disclose any names just yet, but I’ll let you know when once they’re locked in!
We also have our The Ski Week events kicking off over the winter, so we’re all looking forward to shredding some pow and partying in the mountains.
Personally, I’m looking to continue to build the Day 8 musical brand and identity and also focus on my own photography and film work. I’ve got a few exciting projects in the pipeline involving travel and film, kicking off with a trip to Vietnam in December. Then we’re looking at doing snow trips to Bulgaria and Iran. I’ll also be joining The Ski Week team in Canada for our events there in February and March which I can’t wait for! A convoy of RV’s shredding the BC mountains. Hoping to make it to The Ski Week event in Austria as well. Wow, it’s shaping up to be a pretty stacked winter when it’s all laid out like that! Supposed to sneak a visit back home in there as well yikes!
But it’s all exciting stuff and the next few years are looking pretty rad on all fronts!