Despite be only its second edition, SXM Festival has already made its mark on the global scene. Bringing together not only the best house and techno DJs, but also a stunning location, water sports, museums, historical cultural activities, and plenty of mouthwatering local cuisine, it’s like no other new festival experience on earth. After 6 days of total Caribbean immersion, here are our top 5 reasons to why SXM Festival is the best new festival on the planet.
Saint Martin is a small island where temperatures hover in the 30s all year round. Its white-sand beaches extend as far as the eye can see around an island of rolling green hills, breathtakingly clear blue skies and crisp tropical seas. A mixture of Dutch and French culture characterise the island meaning its food is out of this world, while the accommodation is breathtaking — you can stay in gorgeous hotels and villas complete with swimming pools and private beaches; surrounded by lush vegetation, and stunning architecture.
SXM knows no bounds when it comes to bookings. Serious heavyweight talent such as Ricardo Villalobos and Richie Hawtin played exceptional sets this year (albeit with a little signature faux pas from Mister Villalobos..), whilst long running veteran Lee Burridge delivered one of the most stunning performances of the week, with a dreamy house-laden sunrise set for the ages. Other highlights included Nina Kraviz, Bob Moses, Black Coffee, deep house dons Âme, Rominimal trio RPR Soundsystem and a flawless set from Jamie Jones.
Due to its location, SXM Festival brought people from all over the world to Saint Martin. As well as a healthy contingent of Brits and other European nationalities, there was also a melting pot of people from all over North and South America as well as even further afield. And they are all a happy bunch who were there to get stuck in and have fun, always with a smile on their face and an ever-present discernment for good music.
The Main Stage at Happy Bay really was a breath-taker, that hosted sets from the likes of Black Coffee, Bob Moses, Âme and Minilogue. Shaped like a vast beach hut-cum-pyramid, it was draped with jungle greenery and felt organic and natural as if it were a hideout for some long lost tribe — the attention to detail of it all has to be seen to be believed. A giant monolithic head next to the main stage had 3D-mapping projected onto it, complemented by extra lighting in all the foliage and jungle huts around it. Add in a big and punchy sound system rig enclosed by trees and you have a dream recipe for a party. A short walk down a pathway further along the beach brought us to the smaller more intimate and secluded Ocean Stage, where Honey Dijon and Frank & Tony brought a sublime NYC vibe to the proceedings.
There were many different spaces to explore, all with their own character and charms, from the rooftop venue SkyBeach; Tantra nightclub decked out in customary SXM decor; indoor/outdoor venue with a pool in the centre aka The Refuge, which is alive with lasers and lights projected through the water haze, and boasts fat and chunky sound. Raresh was the special guest here on the Thursday night and served up his sumptuous minimal soundtrack in real style.