Sponsored by Bespoke Yacht Charter

‘How long is a piece of string?’ is the quick answer to this question. The variation in charter yacht pricing and facilities is simply breathtaking, with crewed motor yacht charters on the French Riviera beginning at around €20,000 per week for smaller yachts, and soaring stratospherically upwards to over €1 million per week for the finest megayachts - complete with helipads, elevators, beach clubs, and infinity pools.



It’s fair, then, to say there are some gaps in pricing and facilities. And in those gaps lies your opportunity to join the superyacht set. You may have to sacrifice the infinity pool, but you don’t have to sacrifice the dream.

With more superyachts joining the charter fleet every year, yacht charters are more affordable than ever before. And once you factor in sharing the cost of your charter with a group of family and friends, yacht charter at the small to medium motor-yacht range becomes financially comparable to other luxury holiday options on the French Riviera such as high-end hotels, villas, and cruise ships. And when it comes to experiences…well, luxury yachts win that contest hands-down.



Yet there’s still a great deal to know before booking your first charter yacht. Yacht charter costing is not as simple as paying the weekly charter fee and cruising off into the sunset. Just like other holiday options, there are extras to pay such as food and beverage costs, as well as yachting-specific costs such as fuel and berthing fees.

There are also some great free inclusions, and ways to save yourself money— if you’re clever about it. Your charter broker will be able to take you through all this in  greater detail, but it's nice to have an idea beforehand about average pricing and what you get for your money.

So it's time to ask yourself what's an entry level yacht, what you will get at difference price points, what's included, what are the hidden costs and how you can reduce your outlay. Thankfully Bespoke Yacht Charter has answers to all of these questions.



A superyacht, by most definitions, is any crewed leisure yacht over 24m, or 78 feet. But don’t get too hung up on length, as there are some luxurious and attractively-priced yachts in the 18-24m range too, and this is where many first-time charterers choose to start their yachting journey.

Size and price ranges: What can you expect?

The descriptions and prices below are guidelines only, and modelled on motoryachts rather than sailing vessels, which tend to be cheaper. 

18-24m: In this size range you’ll usually get 3 luxury cabins sleeping 6 people, although some have 4 cabins sleeping 8. Many of the yachts in this sector are sporty yachts with modern interiors which can streak down the Riviera coastline in a blur of speed and fun, but there are also a few older displacement yachts in this fleet too, with bigger interior volumes, two decks, and a more classic luxury yachting feel. 

What you prefer is entirely up to you. Where the sport yachts have the speed, displacement yachts have stability. Yachts in this size range will normally have 2 to 3 crew, including a captain, chef and/or stewardess. This range of yachts normally charters out in the €18,000-32,000 per week range, although this figure can be higher for newer yachts with certain facilities or a particularly strong brand name.



24-30m: In this size range you'll generally have 4 cabins accommodating 8 guests, although some yachts will also have a fifth cabin. Again, there is a mix of sport yachts and displacement yachts in this sector, although the displacement, two-deck yachts become more common in this range. 

Expect larger deck and interior spaces, as well as the appearance of special features on the newer yachts, such as drop-down balconies and swim platforms.  These yachts normally run with 2-4 crew. Yachts in this size range can vary quite dramatically in price based on their size, age and facilities, but an average estimate runs between €30,000 and €60,000 per week.



31-40m: This size range has an incredible amount of variation. As the yachts move towards 40m, you''ll find the first tri-deck yachts, with onboard Jacuzzis, an upper and lower salon and swim platforms. There are also quite a lot of older superyachts in this range, so you may get some fantastic bargains on classic motoryachts which have been refitted.

In the 30-40m range you'll often have 5 cabins for 10 guests, and 'cabins' become 'staterooms', with more space and amenities. Generally yachts in this range have all of their guest accommodation on the lower deck, sometimes with split-stairwells to give privacy to the master cabin or for shared family charters. Some yachts will have the master stateroom on the main deck- an extremely attractive feature.

You can generally expect 4-7 crew, and a much larger selection of water-toys and onboard equipment, due to larger storage space. As you can imagine, pricing varies hugely in this sector, beginning at around €35,000 per week and ranging up to €150,000.



41-50m: We've talked about price variation before, but in this sector there's the biggest range of all. For many years, the richest people on earth had yachts in this size range- and many still do, despite being able to afford much larger yachts.

The 40-50m size range is extremely attractive, as you'll find main deck master suites which stretch the full beam of the yacht, often complete with offices and huge bathrooms. At the upper end of the range, you'll frequently find a VIP stateroom on the upper deck, as well as four staterooms on the lower deck, bringing guest capacity to 12. 

Sundeck Jacuzzis are fairly standard at this level, and the tri-deck yachts will offer three or more exterior dining and entertaining spaces. There are also classic yachts in this size range that can present good charter opportunities. 40-50m yachts will generally run with 7-12 crew, providing an exceptional level of  service, and charter out from anywhere from €75,000 to the high 200,000s.



50m+ In this range you take all the wonderful features of the 50m yacht, and start adding to them. A private owner's deck is relatively common, as are tender garages with a wealth of watertoys and boats. Gyms are a popular addition, and elevators start becoming a feature too.

Over 65m is where you generally start to see helipads, beach clubs and cinemas, as well as the occasional onboard spa. Yachts over 70m take things even further, with all of the above, plus infinity pools, split-level master suites, and dance floors. We can dream, can't we?

100m+ enters the realm of the small ship, with swimming pools, huge suites, and sporting courts. Crew numbers start at around 12 for over 50m, rising to around 20 in the 65-70m range, and can go as high as 50 crew for the 100m+ yachts. As for the cost? If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. On average, 60m+ will be around €400,00 per week, rising up to around a million.



Things to consider

One important thing worth noting is that large yachts normally also only accommodate 12 guests, as this is the general passenger license for luxury yachts. The exceptions to this rule are those rare yachts which have a commercial passenger license, such as the very large megayachts or, more affordably, expedition yachts which were converted into luxury superyachts from commercial vessels. There are some good bargains to be had on these large expedition yachts if you have a larger group, so ask your broker for recommendations.

You may also find that there are some huge differences in charter prices that can’t be easily explained by the age of the yacht or even the onboard facilities. This is where your charter broker’s expert industry knowledge comes in, as these pricing discrepancies may come down to different brands of yachts or the names of certain designers. Your broker will be able to explain why a yacht commands a certain price.



What's included in the charter fee?

Quite understandably, many first-time charterers think that their charter fee covers all costs, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Your charter fee includes the use of the yacht and its facilities and watersports for the week, the professional crew, including captain, and chef/stew for the smallest yachts, ranging up to large crews with specialist skills such as watersport instructors and masseuses. 

Your charter fee covers crew salaries and their food, but not tips, which will be covered in the next section. These days, almost all charter yachts have Wi-Fi and advanced entertainment systems with movies, music, and games onboard. As far as value goes, you have a luxury hotel to yourself, with a private staff entirely dedicated to your group and no-one else, free watersport usage and instruction, and your ‘hotel’ takes you wherever you need to go. No need for spending time in summer traffic or moving hotels from one end of the Riviera to another!



What's not included in your charter fee?

Just as you’d pay for food and other extras on a hotel or villa holiday, a charter yacht vacation comes with extra costs. None of these expenses are hidden as they’re very clearly stated in the charter contract, and your charter broker will explain them to you in detail before booking. 

At Bespoke Yacht Charter, we’re not in the business of luring you in with a low price and then signing you up for a vacation that will pressure your finances. We want you to remember your first yacht charter forever - for all the right reasons.



Charter agreements can vary, but the following items are normally not included in your charter fee: fuel costs, including fuel for the generator, yacht tender and watertoys such as jetskis, berthing fees, as well as any shore power or water you use in the marina. French Riviera charters have 20%  VAT applied to the charter fee. This can be reduced by entering international waters, a cruise to Portofino, Corsica or Sardinia for example.

Food and drink. All meals, snacks, alcohol and soft drinks are charged. Water on yachts is not drinkable, so bottled water is also extra. Other consumables. Some yachts charge for consumables such as sunscreen and toiletries.

While tipping is not compulsory, it is industry standard, with a recommended rate of 5-15% of the charter fee, which is given to the captain and shared between the crew evenly. (You may never see the yacht’s engineer, but you may not get far without them…)



Most contracts will include a provision to say that if damage is caused to the yacht where the client is at fault, the charterer will be liable. A common issue on yachts is damage of teak decking and furniture due to unsuitable suntan oils, and cleaning or replacement fees of linen due to heavy waterproof makeup that the crew cannot launder successfully onboard.

Communication costs such as the use of satellite phone and sometimes internet. Any other incidental costs, such as getting masseuses to the yacht on your request, newspapers and magazines, or buying fresh lobster from the fishermen who come to the back of the yacht. 

Delivery fee. If you are not chartering in the yacht’s normal cruising ground, you may have to pay delivery costs for the yacht to arrive in the area for your charter. This would be uncommon in the case of French Riviera charter yachts.



How does the money work?

When you sign a charter contract, you’ll be asked to give a 25-30% deposit to the broker called an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA), which will be forwarded to the yacht so that the captain and crew can stock the yacht with food, drink, and fuel before your arrival, as well as pay for berthing fees and other up-front costs. 

The captain keeps the APA for the duration of the charter, and will present an extremely detailed account at the end of the charter, and refund any monies not used. You are also able to get daily updates on your spending. Overall, the average cost of extras on your yachting holiday is between 25 and 50% of the charter fee, depending on how much you’re pushing the boat out (or what kind of bargain you found on the base charter rate!).



How to reduce the cost of your yacht charter holiday?

Looking at the list of extras may seem daunting, but there are many ways you can reduce your spending on a charter yacht holiday if you need to.

A sailing yacht can slash your fuel bills (for obvious reasons), while a fast, sporty motoryacht expends a great deal of fuel, but covers a lot of ground fast. If you’re looking to economise on fuel costs but want a motoryacht charter, look for a full-displacement yacht with a cruising speed of around 10 knots, which is a wonderful speed to float along the Riviera: you’ll easily be able to make it from Cannes to Saint Tropez for lunch at this speed. 

Also remember that the yacht’s electricity will run on generator fuel at anchor, and on shore power if tied up to the dock. Bigger yachts cost more to run. And don’t forget to factor in the fuel for the tenders and motorised watertoys. Sometimes a slightly bigger yacht will work out more economically because it has an extra cabin, so you can increase your group numbers and push down your spend per head.



If you want a fabulous yacht with all the trimmings but are loathe to pay high season rates, consider chartering on the French Riviera in May, June, September or October, when charter rates drop dramatically and there are some splendid deals to be had. Weather-wise, June and September can be particularly lovely, while May and October weather is more variable but often still superb.

Marina fees on the Riviera can be expensive in the summer, but again, there are ways to minimise or even totally avoid this expenditure. There are stunning anchorages along the Riviera from Cap Ferrat along to Saint Tropez, so unless you are determined to go into port for the night, you can really reduce the cost of your yachting vacation by anchoring off. There are also lesser-known marinas that don’t charge quite as much for berths, so speak to your broker about planning your itinerary around reducing berthing costs. Also, remember that berthing rates are calculated on yacht length, so smaller yachts cost less.



If you leave your requests for food and drink until the last minute or don’t fill it out at all, the chef will almost certainly have to depend on a specialist yacht provisioner to source and deliver the supplies to your yacht when you make requests. If on the other hand you send your provision sheet in with plenty of time to spare, the chef should have time to provision at major supermarkets, wine merchants, fishmongers and markets, thus taking out the middleman and reducing your bill significantly.

Also, filling out your preference sheet gives you some control over how much the chef spends - ie, if you say your favourite foods are lobster and caviar and vintage champagne, expect to see a hefty bill at the end of your trip. Eating onboard the yacht is still far cheaper than eating in restaurants as you would on a conventional holiday (and you have a private chef creating exactly what you want!) But don’t fall into the trap of thinking the food is free- there’s no such thing as a free lunch, on yachts or anywhere else!



So, can luxury yachting be a cheap vacation option?

Well, no. If superyacht charter becomes dirt-cheap, it simply stops being super. The luxury is what you pay for. But as more yachts join the charter fleet, superyacht charters become more affordable than ever before, and compare favourably with other luxury travel options on the French Riviera.

Cote d'Azur yacht charter doesn’t have to cost as much as you fear, as long as you make the right choices. Get in touch, and we’ll help you do just that. We know not everyone’s made of money, but we believe that chartering a yacht on the French Riviera is one of the great experiences of life, and not as expensive as you might think.

Latest News

Zeelander Yachts unveiled flagship Z72
A young company Zeelander Yachts founded in 2002 in the Netherlands by Sietse Koopmans. He would like to create a sports cruiser design driven by boating experience alone. Following this concept, the yacht should be composed of curved surfaces so that, depending on which angle the sun shined on the hull, you’d see something new. The shipyard uses the highest quality materials inside and out. The first hull Z44 launched in 2008 at the Monaco Yacht show and impressed so many people who’d like to see closer this project despite that it was much larger yachts. Over thirty hulls sold within 3 years at US and Europe market. The second larger model Z55 delivered in 2015. Together with the designer Cor D. Rover, the Zeelander team pushed forward of yacht design through innovative engineering. They worked on combining a fantastic performance with the smoothest ride, the finest luxuries with the best possible equipment. They produced very stick to memory hulls which once you see, you never forget. Now Zeelander unveiled the new flagship yacht 22-metres Z72. “An S-Shaped deck line, a wider stern and even more curved surfaces. The exterior design inspired by the way Porsche has its designs over time. A legendary icon is what we envision for the Z72. true yacht building is a form of art. This is our craft ”, says Leonardo van den Berg, Commercial Director at Zeelander Yachts. Her actual model ’s length is 20.2 meters and it surpasses 22 meters with a large swim platform open, while her beam measures 6 meters. Z72 has a stylish luxury décor, huge panoramic windows, glass ceiling in saloon and many social areas for the best possible on board. “The biggest JL sound system on all spaces—helm, galley, aft deck, foredeck, staterooms and even the swimming platform,” says Floris Koopmans, marketing coordinator at Zeelander. On the main deck, guests can enjoy the open bar and alfresco dining. Accommodation will be in three en-suite staterooms: two cabins with queen berths and the forward master-suite with a king-size bed. This Porsche-designed yacht offers a quite sportive character, her maximum speed is around 40 knots with Volvo Penta IPS engines.The first Z72 is going to launch before the end of this year. Zeelander Yachts will take part in many events in 2019, the nearest is the Palm Beach International Boat Show from March 28 to 31. @Photos by Zeelander Yachts
Hydro Tec 100m superyacht concept Crossbow to be built by ISA Yachts
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New 50m Riva flagship Race launched in Ancona
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TOP 5 photos of the week
Yacht Harbour takes a look over the best images from the social media world from the past week.#1. 156m DilbarPhoto by @ronraffetyKnown during her highly secretive build as Project Omar, the 156-meter yacht was launched at Lurssen facility in 2015. She became Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's third yacht and the third yacht to bear the same name Dilbar, after the businessman’s mother.With her gross tonnage of 15.917 tons, she has officially become the world's largest yacht by volume.Diblar boasts exterior design by Espen Oeino and interior styling by Andrew Winch. Dilbar features a combined 3,800 square meters of living space, being able to host up to 40 guests and a crew of 80.#2. 85,6m AquilaPhoto via @theyachtmogulFormerly known as Cakewalk, this 85-metre yacht was sold to her current owner at an asking price of €119,000,000 at the end of 2014, followed by 12-month refit for 12 months at Pendennis in the UK and her name changed to Aquila.The largest yacht built in the United States since the 1930s, she has now become the largest yacht to be refitted in the UK with improvements focusing on the interior. For instance, the owner's stateroom was entirely remodelled and a 60 sqm private deck was added.#3. 77m Go by Turquoise YachtsPhoto by @ronraffetyRegarded as modern classics, Go sports a fluidly sinuous exterior profile complemented by a rich contemporary interior, both developed London- based H2 Yacht Design. Her turquoise painted hull enhances the connection to the sea and is unified by a “water in motion” narrative that influenced the interior colours, metallic finishes, fabrics, textiles, and stonework.All the tenders and toys, including the 5,5-metre rescue tender, are painted the yacht’s signature turquoise hull colour.#4. 43m Infinity III (ex. Cheers 46)Infinity III was built by Benetti in 2014 with an interior designed by Redman Whitley Dixon and exterior styling by Stefano Righini. She was sold in July, 2018 asking $13,450,000. Amongst her key features are a Jacuzzi and an ample lounging area located on the bow of the yacht, a fully-equipped gym with a sea view and a spacious sitting area for entertaining located on the main deck.This 42,67 motor yacht offers accommodation to 10 guests in 5 cabins on-board. Powered by MTU engines of 3460 HP each, she can reach her maximum speed oat 22 knots and a cruise comfortably at 18 knots.#5. 85.5m M/Y Vibrant CuriosityPhoto by @yacht.photographyThis yacht was built in collaboration between the Dutch shipyard Oceanco and the Italian Nuvolari & Lenard design house, working both in the yacht’s exteriors and interiors. She was built in 2009, featuring a beam of 14,2 m and a draft of 4 m, steel hull and aluminium superstructure. With her gross tonnage of 2000 tones, Vibrant Curiosity can accommodate 14 guests in 7 cabins on-board.As to Vibrant Curiosity' speeding options, powered by MTU 6V 595 TE70 engines of 4680 HP each, she reaches a maximum speed at 18.5 knots and cruises at 17 knots for 5500 nautical miles.
9 iconiс superyachts designed by Espen Oeino
Espen Oeino was born and brought up in Norway. Completing naval architecture studies in Normandy, he further worked his way from employment with UK designer Martin Francisto to building his own renowned design company based in Monaco. Espen Oeinio is nowadays considered one of the most influential exterior designers in the yachting world, with his project REV, the largest vessel ever, currently being built in Norway. Yacht Harbour takes a look over some of his most legendary works.#1. Ocean VictoryLength: 140 mBuilder: FincantieriYear: 2014Ocean Victory was built for Russian billionaire steel magnate, Victor Rashnikov and delivered in 2014. At the time of delivery, she was the largest superyacht constructed in Italy and the 9th largest yacht in the world.This seven-deck vessel is packed with such alluring features as 6 pools spread out over her 7 decks, an internal foldable dock hosting a 14-metre tender, a helideck with lifting platform and internal helicopter hangar and a spacious (over 300 m2) spa zone. As to accommodation capacity, she can house up to 36 guests on-board.#2. DilbarLength: 156 mBuilder: LurssenYear: 2016Currently the world's largest yacht by gross tonnage with 15,917 GT of interior volume, Dilbar has once redefined the notion of space in yachting. She became Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's, valued by Forbes at $16 billion, third yacht and the third yacht to bear the same name, after the businessman's mother.With the yacht’s beam of 23 meters and a deep draft of 6 meters, cabling used on board stretches over 1,100 km with guests and owner's spaces totally combined to 3,800 square meters of living space. What is more, Dilbar was the largest yacht, featuring a diesel electric power plant from an engineering standpoint.Ever since her delivery in 2016, Dilbar has been drawing great attention of press as well as social media users around the globe. Her travels throughout the Mediterranean have been essentially documented, with photos of her taken from almost every possible angle.#3. REVLength: 182,9mBuilder: VARDYear: 2021Nothing less than the largest superyacht in the world once completed, this is one of the recent ambitious projects designed by Oeinio. REV is currently taking shape at the VARD shipyard in Tulcea, Romania.Built for environmental research missions in partnership with WWF Norway, the Research Expedition Vessel (REV) will also be available for charter for recreational purposes and expeditions.By virtue of her purpose, REV is designed for long-term operation in remote and harsh waters without external support, able to operate autonomously for up to 114 days. The ship will be equipped with laboratories and hi-tech instruments for exploration of the entire marine ecosystem, able to analyse, document and collect. REV’s robust exterior lines and modern features ensure she is able to cruise in both arctic and tropical areas alike, with her hull built to ICE PC 6 for navigation in ice. The yacht will also deploy mini-submarines and actual submarines, drones and helicopter, while overhead cranes can lift and launch equipment weighing up to 20 T over the side.With a beam of 22 metres, REV will also become the largest yacht in the world by gross tonnage of 16,000GT, reportedly overtaking Alisher Usmanov's Dilbar by 100 GT. When in expedition, the vessel will be able to accommodate up to 90 people including the crew. #4. DreAMBoatLength: 90mBuilder: OceancoYear: 2019According to the information from social media, DreAMBoat was built for US billionaire and owner of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team Arthur Blank, who is valued at $4.7 billion by Forbes. Her delivery is scheduled to summer 2019.DreAMBoat is trademarked with generous overhangs from the superstructure and cut outs in the bulwarks lending her classic and strong appearance. The vessel’s exterior features numerous large windows offering panoramic views. Swimming pool aft at the main deck, a partially closed sundeck with Jacuzzi and plenty of seating and entertainment zones and a private Jacuzzi at the Owner’s deckHer impressive interior volume of 2,950 GT allows accommodation for 23 guests on-board, along with up to 33 crew members.#5. Silver FastLength: 77mBuilder: Silver YachtsYear: 2015The vessel represents one of the most advanced and eco-fuel efficient vessels built by Silver Yachts. She is one of the world's largest and fastest aluminium motor yacht with conventional propulsion in terms of length to speed ratio. Silver Fast is capable of crossing the Atlantic at approximately 22 knots cruising speed. Silver Fast’ alluring amenities include a winter garden, helipad, outdoor cinema, Jacuzzi with capacity for 8 people, a spa area fitted with sauna, steam room, beauty salon and a gym. She can accommodate up to 18 guests in 8 cabins on-board.#6. SolandgeLength: 85,1mBuilder: LurssenYear: 2013The yacht that won the Monaco Yacht Show Award for Best Exterior Design in 2014. Espen Oeino has created harmonious lines and balanced proportions for the yacht, encasing a vast selection of outdoor living, dining and entertainments zones.Solandge’ panoramic top deck plays host to a beach club area with customised dance floor, Jacuzzi and a bar while the bridge deck is ideal for relaxation and casual al fresco dining with a spacious seating area. On the bridge deck, there is also a fully-equipped health spa featuring massage room, sauna and gymnasium leading out onto a glass-edged plunge pool.The yacht can accommodate up to 12 guests in 7 staterooms on-board, including a panoramic master deck featuring 180 degree windows, and a private deck with spa pool.At the moment of sale in 2017, Solandge was asking €155,000,000.#7. Flying FOXLength: 130mBuilder: LurssenYear: 2018Delivered in March, 2019, Flying Fox is the world’s 14th largest yacht at the moment of writing. Nonetheless, she boasts the most elegant and graceful exterior design, maintaining striking looks despite her massive volume of 9,100 GT.This superyacht’s key features include two helipads, capable of hosting the largest helicopters. Another highlight of the vessel is the large swimming pool located aft of the main deck. Flying Fox also boasts vast sea terraces, swim platforms for watersports.#8. KismetLength: 95,2mBuilder: LurssenYear: 2014This superyacht is owned by Shadid Khan, Pakistani-American billionaire and business tycoon, who is also the owner of the Fulham FC and Jacksonville Jaguars.Kismet is stretching over five decks, designed with corporate entertainment and charter in mind, thus suitable for parties of up to 270 guests. As an innovative feature, Kismet boasts video walls, extending up to two decks high, able to show regular television but programmed to display high-definition moving artwork.A large swimming pool and Jacuzzi area, spa zone, movie theatre, an outdoor fireplace and winter garden can be found among the yacht’s luxury amenities.The yacht’s entertainment and design characteristics have been attracting top artists and events on-board. For example, Jay-Z and Beyonce were spotted on-board last year, while Netflix filmed Kismet in party scene from its biggest production so far, "Six Underground".#9. OctopusLength: 126,2mBuilder: LurssenYear: 2003At the time of writing, Octopus remains the largest explorer yacht in the world, not surpassed in 16 years from her launch. She belonged to Paul Allen, one of Microsoft founders, who passed away in late 2018. Allen once described his yacht: "Octopus is less a Bentley than a Range Rover".As part of this, the yacht is fitted with two submarines, one of which can dive for up to 8 hours with 10 people on it; the second submarine can be remotely controlled. Octopus is capable of accommodating 26 guests in total, with up to 57 crew members. Other amenities found on-board include a second helipad, a swimming pool and a music studio as well as a courtyard-like set up on the third deck of Octopus occupied by guest space.Despite her expedition nature, the yacht has been much favoured by the world’s first-class celebrities, with Mick Jagger recording an album in on-board studio in 2011 and Usher, U2 and Johnny Cash listed among other performers.